7:00pm Tuesday 15th May 2012
By Jessica Cree
ONE of East Lancashire’s top restaurants, run by celebrity chef Paul Heathcote, has closed after 22 years.
The Longrdige Restaurant, in Higher Road, was the Michelin-starred chef’s flagship site, but served its last customer at the weekend.
Mr Heathcote said the decision to close Longridge was one that had taken a while because of his memories attached to it.
He said: “I am actually really proud of what we have achieved and I don’t find it sad.
“It is more about reflecting on the good memories.”
Mr Heathcote, who will continue to run two restaurants in Preston, said the closure of Longridge will free him for new projects.
He said: “I want to do other things, I have just been appointed chairman of Marketing Lancashire but I also have an outside catering company which needs my attention.
“When you have been stuck in a kitchen, there are other things in life that you want to do.”
The restaurant has now been placed on the market.
Mr Heathcote said the venue should have been closed several years ago but had been kept open for sentimental reasons.
He said: “Twenty-two years is long enough to be doing the same thing.
“It is a fairly small business and I have been keeping it going probably more for memories and historic value rather than any financial gain.
“Economically, we are challenging, but I am still as busy as I have ever been.
“It is the end of an era but I am a positive person so I have come to terms with that.”
Mr Heathcote thanked the chefs and front of house staff he had worked with and said he was ‘immensely proud’ of the number of chefs he had cooked with, including Raymond Blanc, Nigel Haworth and Paul Rankin.
In 2010, Mr Heathcote sold five of his restaurants to Knutsford-based bar and restaurant group Living Ventures in a deal that included the Olive Press branded restaurants in Cheadle Hulme, Liverpool and Manchester city centre.
The firm also ran the Olive Press in Clitheroe before it was also shut down last year.
Heathcotes Brasserie and the Olive Press, in Preston, will continue to serve smart casual food.
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