Kanwar Gurmohan, Jamie Oliver Restaurants’ former operations chef, has taken on the lease of a Surrey pub and plans to make it the first of several that he establishes in the Home Counties.
Mr Gurmohan is undertaking a joint £272,000 refurbishment of the Surrey Cricketers in Windlesham alongside Star Pubs & Bars, with work on the site commencing this week.
A woodfired pizza oven providing authentic stone-baked sourdough pizzas and slow cooked woodchip smoked meats will take centre stage at the pub.
His plans include an exciting menu of traditional pub dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and high-quality British produce as well as many vegan and vegetarian options.
Kanwar oversaw the culinary offer of the £25m turnover Jamie Oliver Restaurants for six years, overseeing its cafe, bar, restaurant and casual dining ventures.
Prior to that he was executive chef for the Lord Mayor of London where he was responsible for major events ranging from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to presidential dinners.
The refurbishment and upgrade of the 19th century pub will see the interior reconfigured to create a 120-seater restaurant with a bar for more casual drinking and dining, increasing seating capacity in the pub by more than 50%.
Mr Gurmohan wants the pub to play a role at the heart of the community. In addition to showing live sports, he plans to hold wine and cask ale tasting sessions, cookery classes with butchers and fishmongers, and pizza dough stretch classes.
He said: “I’ve got a great team lined up for The Surrey Cricketers who are looking forward to opening the doors and meeting the local community to hear first-hand what they’d like from their pub. I want to offer the sort of independently run, unique friendly pub with great food and drink that the area deserves, to support local suppliers and to help create local jobs.
“Longer term, I’m focused on developing a pub estate with the right offer for the locality. I am interested in pubs rather than casual dining as I believe this is where future growth lies, and they provide more income streams. Pubs are more relaxing environments for families and there is more space. On the high street on the other hand competition is fierce with lots of discounting that ultimately impacts the final product sold to diners.”