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Lee Westcott steps down as head chef of Pensons restaurant

Pensons restaurant has revealed Lee Westcott will be stepping down as head chef at the end of the year.

Having opened Pensons with Peta Darnley in January, Westcott headed up the kitchen since the launch, resulting in the restaurant being awarded a Michelin Star. 

Westcott will be succeeded by Chris Simspson, who will join the team at Pensons in 2020, after having worked with Nathan Outlaw as head chef for seven years in Cornwall as his two Michelin Star restaurant 

He then held the role as executive head chef at Gidleigh Park, which also won a Michelin Star. 

Co-founder Peta Darnley said: “We are very sad to see Lee go, but wish him all the best for the future. I’m personally so happy to have worked with him on this huge venture: turning a derelict, disused barn on our Netherwood Estate into a restaurant with a flourishing kitchen garden.

“Lee and I are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together along with the hard work of the brilliant team. It has been a real joy. We are very excited to welcome Chris to the family, and look forward to building on the success of the last year.” 

Westcott added: “It’s been a real labour of love to be involved in this project right from the start; I have learnt a great deal from working so closely with the seasons and the produce here. 

“I’m so proud of what the team and I have achieved in this time and the recognition that we have received has been a true honour.

Simpson said: “I’m honoured and delighted to be joining Pensons, with its bountiful surroundings, excellent local suppliers and fantastic team. I’m such a fan of what Lee, Peta and the team have achieved, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.” 

Simpson will be joining new restaurant general manager, Jim Conway, who held the role as a restaurant manager at The Raby Hunt in Summerhouse for four years. He led the restaurant from one Michelin Star to two Michelin Stars in 2016.

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