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Soho’s Venetian Restaurant Polpetto Loses Head Chef After Only Seven Weeks

The reason for Anthea Stephenson departure is not known

Chef Anthea Stephenson
Polpo [Official Photo]

Eater has learnt that Anthea Stephenson, recently appointed as head chef at Russell Norman’s Venetian-inspired trattoria on Berwick Street in Soho, has left the position less than two months after taking charge.

Stephenson — who moved to Polpetto from London’s most revered Italian restaurant, the River Cafe — took over as head chef in the first week of October. It is thought she left, less than seven weeks later, between the 17 and 20 November.

A spokesperson for the restaurant would only confirm that Stephenson had left. Norman, the founder and owner of the Polpo brand, under which Polpetto sits, did not return Eater’s request for comment on the reasons for Stephenson’s departure.

Stephenson, too, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Polpetto began life above the French House on Greek Street in 2010 with Florence Knight in charge. It closed two years later, before reopening on the premises, still with Knight, on Berwick Street in 2014. Although the circumstances of Stephenson’s departure aren’t known, the news comes as a surprise. Much was made of the restaurant’s third incarnation— including a launch party hosted by Norman and Stephenson at the restaurant on 6 November. It attracted significant press coverage, including a front-page news story in the Evening Standard.

On the Polpo website, a relaunch statement said: “Our little sister Polpetto is growing up. You know those little sisters who suddenly blossom in to full blown women, looking gorgeous and WOWING the world with stupidly good results? Yeah, that. Anthea Stephenson (formerly of River Cafe) is now at the helm and we could not be more excited.”

As well as working at the River Cafe with Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen, and Joe Trivelli for the past five years, Stephenson also worked at Pierre Gagnaire’s Sketch, Brett Graham’s The Ledbury and Locanda Locatelli.

More soon.


11 Berwick Street, , England W1F 0PL 020 7439 8627 Visit Website

The River Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London, W6 9HA Visit Website


9 Conduit Street, , England W1S 2XG 020 7659 4500 Visit Website

The French House

49 Dean Street, , England W1D 5BG 020 7437 2477 Visit Website

River Cafe

1A Station Approach, , England SW6 3UH 020 7736 6296

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, , England W11 2AQ 020 7792 9090 Visit Website


199 Tooley Street, , England SE1 2JX 020 7183 2117 Visit Website