Celebrity chef quits hotel as locals enforce boycott

Marco Pierre White at The Angel in Lavenham, which has recently re-opend ENGANL00120110919101024
Marco Pierre White at The Angel in Lavenham, which has recently re-opend ENGANL00120110919101024

Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has sold The Angel in Lavenham after just three years after some locals began to boycott the historic pub.

For the second time in recent months, the fiery cook has ditched a country pub – in August, he sold off the Pear Tree Inn in Wiltshire after rows with customers led to a walkout by staff.

Now the 15th century Angel has changed hands after the celebrity chef sold the remaining lease.

Recent guests had taken to TripAdvisor – a review-based travel website – to describe their stays at the venue as “absolutely ghastly” and “awful”.

White’s troubles began within days of him taking over The Angel in 2011 – he stopped the sale of lager and cider after claiming that it attracted the “wrong kind of clientele”.

He said at the time: “This is now not a local boozer – it’s a hotel. I am its caretaker and I object to bad language, laddish behaviour, tattoos and dogs sitting on chairs.”

Furious locals hit back, claiming that Michelin-starred chef White had branded them all lager louts.

One former regular, Rod Benson, has since opened up his own successful wine bar and restaurant, Number 10, just a few hundred yards from The Angel on the corner of Lady Street and Water Street.

Last year, White was forced to repaint The Angel twice – after his first attempt to give it a traditional “Suffolk pink” look was roundly condemned as “blancmange-like” and unsuitable for a Grade II listed property.

Last week, staff were called to a meeting and told that the hotel was being taken over and that their jobs were safe.

The new owners, Cozy Pubs, already runs three similar inns in Essex – and has promised that the Angel will go back to being a traditional pub.

Co-founder Timothy Foyle said: “We want The Angel to become the focus of the village again, as it once was. We plan to be part of the community.

“We will be updating the rooms, which have been criticised by guests, as well as providing good food at reasonable prices.”

Some locals were celebrating the promised return of their favourite pub.

Alexander Rees, 36, said: “It is generally agreed that Mr White ruined the best pub in the village.

“He tried to turn it into a trendy hotel, but it clearly didn’t work.”