THE New Inn at St Owen’s Cross’ bids a fond farewell to its chef who has been part of the restaurant’s success since it reopened prior to the pandemic.

Chef Michael Fowler is leaving gastro pub to pursue solo projects having originally teamed up with investor Mark Green and his family, and developer Mark Freeman to carry out a full refurbishment of the building.

But now Thomas Leak has been appointed as the head chef at the 16th Century coaching inn.

Thomas is excited to introduce more affordable dishes at The New Inn and to take the rural pub in a slightly different direction. Dishes will focus on the seasons and will use locally sourced ingredients when possible.

Thomas’ strong passions include foraging, fermenting, and dry aging, and on occasions, these will be reflected in his menus.

Thomas has been part of the award-winning team at The New Inn for the past three-and-a-half years. Before joining, he gained an impressive track record of culinary expertise at Great Fosters, Surrey, now a Michelin-starred restaurant, at the five-star Seaham Hall Hotel located on the Durham coast.

The new-style gastro pub will offer a more informal dining experience with a terrace menu offering a delicious range of small plates to be served in the al fresco garden area, an extended bar menu, and an A la Carte Menu featuring certain popular British classics.

Thomas said: ‘I’m delighted to be taking over as head chef at The New Inn and to steer the pub towards offering fabulous food with more modest pricing. We’ve got a great team on board, we’re in a wonderful location and we can’t wait to roll out the new summer menus.”

Last month the New Inn was in the running to be Midlands Gastro Pub of the Year and Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year as it had been shortlisted as a finalist in the two categories in the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards 2024. The awards, now in its seventh year, celebrates the best of the best in the region.