A Michelin-starred chef has given full ownership of a popular restaurant in Surrey to his wife as part of their divorce settlement.
Drake’s Restaurant in the Surrey village of Ripley near Woking has become a popular choice for local fine diners since it was established by head chef Steve Drake and wife Serina 16 years ago. It was almost immediately awarded a Michelin star and the restaurant continues to feature in the famous restaurant guide.
But Drake’s now faces the loss of its prestigious Michelin status after the Drakes began divorce proceedings, and he agreed to give full ownership of the restaurant to Serina. He, meanwhile, will become sole proprietor of the former couple’s other business, a nearby gastro pub called The Anchor.
Mr Drake is scheduled to leave the restaurant at the end of this month and, The Telegraph reports, it remains uncertain whether Drake’s will lose its Michelin rating following his departure. Although the stars are, strictly speaking, awarded to the food served in each carefully selected restaurant, in practice the rating is strongly associated with the establishment’s head chef.
The restaurant is due for re-inspection later this year and could lose its place in the guide.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Drake said the divorce settlement negotiations had been “quite an ordeal”.
“My heart and soul are here, it’s where I won my first star and it’s been very difficult to give it up. But while we both wanted to hold on to the restaurant I came to realise that the best way to move forward was for Serina to keep the business as an asset.”
Mrs Drake added:
“We don’t know whether we’ll be awarded the star again or whether we’ll have it taken away, but the chef that is taking over from Steve has worked for us for over three years and is very well equipped to take over the reins.”