Oh, yet another story about the beleaguered stately pile in Hampshire, that is Heckfield Place. As many of you will know, & are probably beyond caring by now to be honest. Heckfield place has had its opening date pushed back more times than you, me or anybody cares to remember; to the point where it’s now farcical to actually conceive that it will ever open.
But what makes this situation worse, is the impact that a wealthy owner has on the staff who he employs, or doesn’t as it appears the current case is at Heckfield. A recent rumour has arrived, that virtually all the staff have been relieved of their duties; with the notable exception of former Michelin starred chef Skye Gyngell (& an unnamed Marketing guy), who continues to recruit for a restaurant which doesn’t even have a site yet. The brief given to property agents is apparently:
- 3,000+ sq. feet
- In the area of; Notting Hill, Holland Park, Ladbroke Grove, Chelsea, Fulham or Kensington.
- Outdoor area suitable for serving food.
And yet, despite looking for over 11months, nothing. Really? Nothing suitable in West London at all? The really scarey part of all this is that Heckfield is hemorrhaging money; current estimates just for salaries is somewhere in the region of £1.5million a year. ChefHermes.com has also been told, despite whatever the PR spin is on Ms Gyngell’s appointment to Heckfield, she isn’t actually contractually bound to ever cook there.
Putting aside the kitchen & food operations debacle, Heckfield also suffered the indignity of the building contractors ‘walking off site’. Could this be down to the owner’s constant changes to the building etc? ChefHermes.com understands that the original plan was to open the hotel in phases, with the initial opening to be May 2010; that date is, but a distant memory. If the builders do return & the owners finally agree on what they actually want, you may see Heckfield Place open in its entirety in April 2015, a full five years behind schedule.