Exclusive: Simon Gueller announces Michael Carr has joined him and the team at The Box Tree

The Staff Canteen

Michael Carr has joined the team at The Box Tree restaurant in Ilkley this week in a 'joint head chef role' with owner Simon Gueller.

Michael, who features in this year's Great British Menu,  said: ""I'm really excited to be working alongside Simon and together we are pushing The Box Tree forward to the next level. I had a trial shift and I was absolutely blown away - the guys in the kitchen are really young and they’re all pushing on and working hard. 

"I really hit it off with Simon and I'm over the moon to be joining his team."

Michael says he's 'buzzing' with the new challenge and looking forward to cooking 'tasty, beautiful food' and getting the Michelin star back which the restaurant unfortunately lost in the Michelin Guide UK 2019.

"We've sat and had lots of talks around Michelin, we want to get the one star back and then push for two - that's the plan."

Michael started his career in his home town of Harrogate before heading to Cornwall to work with Neil Martin and Chris Eden, then he moved to London to work with Gordon Ramsay and Alyn Williams.

Coming full circle he opened Restaurant 92 in Harrogate in 2015 but sadly announced at the start of 2019 that the restaurant would close.

He said: "Losing Restaurant 92 really hit me hard, but talking to Simon about his own experiences gave me a bit of fire back and I can't tell you how excited I am."

Simon and his wife Rena took over The Box Tree in 2004 and held the star there for 14 years, speaking exclusively to The Staff Canteen about Michael's appointment, Simon said: "I can't express how happy I am really. When I met him I thought he had a really great energy and he really clicked with the team.

"He's already bringing things to my dishes, a new dimension, and that's what I wanted. He's got a real modern edge to his cooking which I absolutely love. It's all about doing great food and Michael is a brilliant cook."

Simon came back in to The Box Tree kitchen full time after losing the Michelin star last year, he explained that he won't give control of his kitchen away again and Michael is coming in as part of a 'chef tag team'.

"It's a joint head chef role with me," said Simon. "You wouldn't think it would work, it's like the saying a ship can't have two rudders, but, it is working because he is respectful. 

"I'm always very giving in my management style, I always give chefs underneath me control over their own dishes and the ability to express their own cooking abilities and tastes. I've never had a closed mind on that and Michael is respectful of that, he doesn't go off on a tangent and think 'this is what I want I'm doing it', we do things together."

Getting The Box Tree back in the Michelin Guide is an ambition both chefs share.

He said: "He's already proved himself at Restaurant 92 with a star rising for two years running, so he's obviously on Michelin's radar and he's an absolute asset to The Box Tree team.”


In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall  – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 16 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 560,000 followers across Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th April 2019

Exclusive: Simon Gueller announces Michael Carr has joined him and the team at The Box Tree