Michael Riemenschneider. Pic: Martin O'Neill
When Michael Riemenschneider arrived at Juniper in Altrincham, some people were excited. When it closed not long afterwards, some people were not surprised. But rumours of the fain-daining chef's return to God's own region have been swirling thickly, and it has been confirmed that he's now in charge of the food at all three of Contessa's Wirral hotels, with Scouse wedding favourite the Hillbark, near Frankby, his focus.
The hotel's restaurant, The Yellow Room, is being refurbished, and soon anyone who liked Mr R's langoustines with pearl barley at Juniper will probably find them on the menu down Frankby way; he's bringing his signature dishes with him. Meanwhile, he has an explanation for his swift departure from Altrincham. "It's a fair criticism to say I took too much on," he says. "We created a real impact on the table but I was juggling too many balls."
If the Hale and Hearty piggybank will stretch to it, we'll be on the Wirral – oh joy! – before long to see what the crack is now he's put the balls down.