Chef Lee's reaching for the (Michelin) stars
A leading light in Peterborough's restaurant scene has called it a day at the restaurant that bears his name.
Lee Clarke - head chef at Clarkes in the city centre for close to five years - is to launch a new fine dining experience called Prevost next month.
The parting of the ways came last week when Lee, who has made no secret down the years of his Michelin Star ambitions - revealed his plans to Clarkes’ owners.
“To achieve what I want to achieve I really need to be out on my own,” he said.
“It is still my main ambition to be the first Michelin starred restaurant in Peterborough. I was employed as head chef at Clarkes and I could not see it happening if I was not the owner. You can only suggest and push things so far, I understand that.”
The ambitious chef came to prominence locally when he opened Clarkes in Lincoln Road in 2011.
The restaurant outgrew that site and moved to the former Grapevine pub, overlooking the revamped St John’s Square, where it has been since the summer of 2013.
Lee’s new venture will be close by in Priestgate, where a painstaking renovation of the former Flyers Club has seen it transformed into what Lee describes as having “the wow factor” with windows and fireplaces dating back hundreds of years restored.
“With only 28 covers it will be an intimate venue,” he said. “There will be an open kitchen so people can see me cook, and I will be cooking every single day.”
The ethos of the restaurant, he says, will be amazing food - modern British cuisine - with service to match.
“The food will be similar to what people will associate me with from Clarkes, with an emphasis on locally sourced produce, but more refined and with a higher level of service,” he said.
“Having 28 covers means we will be able to achieve the greater consistency that is needed.”
Like many high end dining establishments, Lee says Prevost will have a limited opening – Wednesday to Saturday - offering a three course lunch and five or nine-course dinner tasting menus.
“The ‘tasting’ experience is now very popular,” he said. “It is popping up all over the place.”