Kanwar Gurmohan, Jamie Oliver Restaurants’ operations chef, has taken on the lease of Star Pubs & Bars’ Surrey Cricketers in Windlesham and is undertaking a joint £272,000 refurbishment of the pub with the pub company starting this week.
The Surrey Cricketers is his first pub, though overtime he intends to establish a portfolio of pubs in the home counties.
Kanwar oversaw the culinary offer of the £25m turnover Jamie Oliver Restaurants for six years, a business which incorporated cafes and bars and restaurants and casual dining outlets. Prior to that he was Executive Chef for the Lord Mayor of London where he was responsible for major events ranging from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to presidential dinners.
The sympathetic refurbishment and upgrade of the 19th century pub will see the interior reconfigured to create a 120-seater restaurant with a bar for more casual drinking and dining, increasing seating capacity in the pub by over 50%.
Kanwar said: “I’ve got a great team lined up for The Surrey Cricketers who are looking forward to opening the doors and meeting the local community to hear first-hand what they’d like from their pub. I want to offer the sort of independently run, unique friendly pub with great food and drink that the area deserves, to support local suppliers and to help create local jobs.
“Longer term, I’m focused on developing a pub estate with the right offer for the locality. I am interested in pubs rather than casual dining as I believe this is where future growth lies, and they provide more income streams. Pubs are more relaxing environments for families and there is more space. On the high street on the other hand competition is fierce with lots of discounting that ultimately impacts the final product sold to diners.”
Star Pubs & Bars regional operations director, Dugald Macer said: “The Surrey Cricketers is in a fantastic location with lots of space inside and out. It just needed the décor, food and drinks being brought up to date. It will now have these and an enthusiastic team with innovative ideas to take it forward. Kanwar has an extensive knowledge of food from casual dining, to cafés and grab and go. He has a passion for food and an appreciation of high standards which will result in a great local. We look forward to working with him and wish him well with The Surrey Cricketers and his plans to grow a pub estate.
“The refurbishment brings to £1.2m our investment in Surrey in the first half of 2019, part of the £50 million investment Heineken is making in pubs around the country this year.”