Comptoir Group’s exec chef leaves for new kitchen assignment

Arabica Bar & Kitchen

Restaurant and retail operator Arabica has stated its intent for growing its operations in 2017 by hiring David Jones as its new executive chef.

Jones boasts 20 years’ experience in the hospitality market and will be leading the menu development at Arabica Bar & Kitchen and working with founder James Walters on new product development across the Arabica Food & Spice Company.

Jones was most recently group executive chef at Comptoir Group, the 22-site strong restaurant group consisting of casual dining chain Comptoir Libanais, Shawa Lebanese Grill and Lebanese restaurants Levant and Kenza. David Jones

Prior to this Jones worked as head chef at Momo, when it was one of London’s most fashionable North African eateries.

His arrival comes as the firm plans to bolster its restaurant, retail and wholesale operations, refining the brand’s offering and laying the groundwork for further expansion across the group.

The pair have already revamped the 80-cover Arabica Bar & Kitchen classics and developed new dishes which will be officially launched at the start of April.

And from May, they will begin hosting monthly market tours and cookery classes at the Cook House in Borough Market, sharing their passion for Middle Eastern flavours with those keen to learn.

They will form part of a senior executive team that also includes Luciano Gonazga, who joined the business as operations director last July.

Walters said that Jones’ appointment was in the offing for some time. “I met David a few years ago, and since meeting we’ve always flirted with idea of one day working together,” he explained.

“David and I share a playful and passionate approach to the flavours of the East, as well as a love of quality ingredients with real provenance. David brings a wealth of Middle Eastern culinary experience and, coupled with Luciano’s operations background, we feel it’s time to broaden our horizons. We’re eager to find new sites and expand the businesses reach.”

Arabica was established in 1999 and has grown from a market stall operation to an established, multi-dimensional business operating across several sites. It also operates a division for pop-ups and events.

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