One of the country’s finest Michelin-starred chefs is fulfilling a lifelong dream by launching a restaurant in Bournemouth.
Former ‘National Chef of the Year’ Kevin Viner made his name in Cornwall, but only went there because he couldn’t find premises in the Dorset resort.
Now he is Executive Chef at ‘Neo’, the distinctive and iconic glass-surrounded restaurant opposite the Bournemouth International Centre and overlooking the pier.
It is expected to create 50 jobs and attract visitors to the area that is developing a reputation as a food hub.
Kevin began his career at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and by 17 was cooking for private dinner parties hosted by Princess Anne and high level diplomats.
At 23 he was the youngest ever lecturer at the Army School of Catering and he went on to represent Great Britain for a decade in the ‘culinary Olympics’, bagging numerous gold medals.
He was named the AA ‘chef’s chef of the year’ in 1999 – a year before his friend Rick Stein won the same accolade. And in the Year 2000 he was named in the Top 10 chefs of the decade.
In competition cooking he has amassed a staggering 50 gold medals and has been chairman of judges in the country’s biggest cooking competitions. He has also appeared regularly on TV and radio.
For seven years, between 1993 and 2000, his restaurant Pennypots in Blackwater, Cornwall, had a Michelin star.
He also ran ‘Viners’ in Cornwall until 2010 and more recently has been consulting and cooking for the Prince and Princess of Monaco.
Kevin said: “I always loved Bournemouth and came here on holiday as a child, so when I decided to move into the restaurant business in 1989 it was the first place I looked.
“Unfortunately there was nothing available at the time so I went to Cornwall only intending to stay there for three or four years and ended up staying for 20.
“Now I am incredibly excited to be Executive Chef of a stand-alone restaurant in Bournemouth, which I’m confident will develop a fine reputation and become a culinary destination.
“Although I first trained as a pastry chef I’m an all-rounder and the food will be modern British with as many ingredients as possible sourced locally.
“We have a state-of-the-art kitchen and will be concentrating on simplicity and strong flavours.
“A pastry chef will prepare fresh bread and cakes daily and all my years of experience will be utilised at Neo.”
The restaurant will be open for morning coffee and there is an all-day menu, cocktail bar, pre-theatre food, al-fresco dining and cooking plus a private function room for 20 as well as the restaurant with terrific views.
With all parts of Neo open it will be able to accommodate up to 200 people and Kevin has appointed Chris Howard – a well-known local chef – as Head Chef.
The philosophy behind Neo is to create a restaurant for everyone with a relaxed atmosphere producing quality food for all the family.
Kevin said: “I want to create a restaurant with a great reputation that will bring people into Bournemouth. I believe service is as important as food and prices that are competitive.”
Bookings are now being taken for table reservations from April 29.
Pic caption: Kevin Viner is pictured at the restaurant.
For more information contact Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 01202 534487 or 07788392965.