Merlin Labron-Johnson to leave The Portland and Clipstone Restaurants

The  Staff Canteen

Merlin Labron-Johnson has revealed that he is leaving The Portland and Clipstone to open his own restaurant.

Chef Merlin Labron -Johnson has announced on Instagram that he has is leaving London-based restaurant The Portland and its sister restaurant Clipstone to launch his own restaurant in 2019. He has also added that he plans to continue his work with The Conduit London and Help Refugees UK.

Merlin told The Staff Canteen: "I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved at The Portland and sad to be leaving. I’m now excited to see what the future holds."

On Instagram he said: "After nearly four incredible years the time has come for me to leave the @portlandrestaurant family to focus on new and exciting projects. Aged 23 I was convinced to come to London to open these restaurants and it was the most challenging and rewarding journey. With Will and Dan (who would never forgive me for posting a picture of them on social media) I achieved things that I never dreamt possible. I also worked with, learnt from and forged friendships with THE MOST lovely and talented people working in this industry."

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*FAREWELL PORTLAND AND CLIPSTONE* After nearly four incredible years the time has come for me to leave the @portlandrestaurant family to focus on new and exciting projects. Aged 23 I was convinced to come to London to open these restaurants and it was the most challenging and rewarding journey. With Will and Dan (who would never forgive me for posting a picture of them on social media) I achieved things that I never dreamt possible. I also worked with, learnt from and forged friendships with THE MOST lovely and talented people working in this industry. What an enormous pleasure. I’m looking to launch a new restaurant in 2019 and am continuing my work with @theconduitlondon and @helprefugeesuk This photo is of me standing between @mr_stuart_andrew and @edoardopellicano - the original soldiers from day one without whom none of this would’ve been possible. Massive shout out also to @zach.elliottcrenn for being one of the most hard working and reliable head chefs in the kingdom. He’s continuing the dream at Portland so go and try the food. It’s wonderful. Big love xx

A post shared by Merlin Labron-Johnson (@merlin_johnson) on



Merlin alongside Will Lander and Dan Morgenthau opened The Portland in 2015 and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star just nine months after it opened. Merlin’s second restaurant Clipstone opened in August 2016.

He started his career in Devon (where he grew up) at Simon Hulstone’s The Elephant and Michael Caines Abode before moving to Switzerland where he spent two and half years working in fine dining establishments. He then moved to France where he worked at the two Michelin-starred establishment - The Albert Premier Hotel in Chamonix, citing it as ‘one of the most influential places’ he had ever worked.

Following on from there, Merlin moved to Belgium under the tutelage of Kobe Desramaults at In de Wulf where he progressed to the position of sous chef. The young chef wanted more and was considering his options when he received a letter from Dan Morgenthau and Will Lander who asked if Merlin would consider opening a restaurant in London with them and Portland was subsequently opened in 2015.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th October 2018

Merlin Labron-Johnson to leave The Portland and Clipstone Restaurants