Pioneering Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes, who has recently confirmed details of his new London restaurant — Lisboeta — has informed Eater that he is now no longer involved in what has been his most high-profile London project, as the executive chef of celeb favourite hotel Chiltern Firehouse. It is a role Mendes has held since the hotel first opened amid great fanfare in February 2014.
Following the publication of details of Mendes “love letter” to Lisbon, which is scheduled to open on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street in spring 2022, the chef and his representatives contacted Eater to say that he and hotelier Andre Balazs “amicably parted ways in May of this year, during what was a very difficult time in the industry [COVID-19].” The spokesperson added that they “didn’t think it needed announcing back in spring, but with Nuno focusing on Lisboeta’s opening and his other projects in Portugal, it is worth mentioning now.”
The contract between Mendes and the hotel — where the chef oversaw the modern European all-day menu but hadn’t actually cooked for a number of years — had come to an end, so the split was “all natural,” the spokesperson said. “I know they are still keen to work together again in the future on other projects.” Mendes said the departure “was natural and amicable.”
“It’s been a super exciting project to create and be part of but now I want to focus on Lisboeta, the Rose [in Deal, Kent], and all of my projects in Portugal,” the chef added.
Chiltern Firehouse is among London’s most popular celebrity hangouts — popular with the likes of Bella Hadid, Joan Collins, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, Winnie Harlow, and Noel Gallagher, among many others who are keen to have their photograph taken. It was chosen as the location for the BAFTA afterparty, hosted by streaming platform Netflix in 2020, with guests including Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Scarlett Johansson.
Mendes was replaced by executive chef Richard Foster.