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Old school, new cool…The Mitre, Hampton Court appoints Ronnie Kimbugwe as Culinary & Operations Director

Ronnie Kimbugwe
Recently announced new boutique luxury hotel brand The Signet Collection has appointed Ronnie Kimbugwe as Culinary & Operations Director, debuting with the first hotel The Mitre, Hampton Court in September. The Signet Collection, which was founded by former COO of Longshot; owners of Beaverbrook and Bel & the Dragon Group, aims to create meaningful stays in time honoured places, and where food & beverage will have pride of place.

Ronnie Kimbugwe, whose background includes over six years with the Gordon Ramsay group at Claridges, joins the new hotel and hospitality brand from the Bel and Dragon Country Inns,  where he created a highly successful group of gastropubs across the South of England. Ronnie will oversee the entire culinary vision at The Mitre, including two restaurants, Coppernose and 1665, the Orangery, private dining, wine cellars, suites and in-room dining.  

In his new role with The Signet Collection, Ronnie will create the menus throughout the hotel, in keeping with the relaxed modern British comfort cooking style for which he is renowned. Seasonal, immersive, and non-prescriptive, Ronnie’s signature take on dishes will ensure the food and beverage offerings at The Mitre, Hampton Court are nothing less than exceptional.

Speaking of his new position, Ronnie commented, “I am delighted to be joining the team at The Mitre, Hampton Court and I look forward to putting my stamp on The Signet Collection as we launch F&B across the brand. Good food is nurturing, it’s restorative, it brings people together. It’s why we champion British produce, local, independent growers, and suppliers we know and trust. We will serve our guests heart-warming and memory making dishes, done properly, genuinely. We look forward to our two new riverside restaurants Coppernose and Signet 1665 being a welcome addition to both the local community, hotel residents and Hampton Court Palace visitors.”

 With its laid-back luxe interiors, inventive all-day menu and stunning riverside views, Coppernose - which takes its name from Henry VIII who was nicknamed “Coppernose” after he issued cheap currency, is set to become a neighbourhood staple. The vibrant, cosmopolitan all-day dining joint and bar will be open for locals and hotel guests to stop by for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. In addition, Coppernose will serve an afternoon tea menu featuring traditional bakes alongside modern savouries. With panoramic views of the River Thames, sample dishes will include Flamed English Asparagus, broad beans, watercress and fried duck egg…Atlantic Lobster and Prawn Cocktail, gems, sriracha and lemon.

Housed in the beautiful glass filled Grade II-listed property, the 1665 restaurant takes its name from the year The Mitre was built. The 70-seater brasserie which has an impressive open kitchen layout, blends easy elegance with a local feel, tying in the building’s heritage with a modern, relaxed twist. Panelled walls are painted rich green, mirrored booths and a centrepiece central bar combine with leather banquettes, marble-topped tables warmed by brass accents and aged parquet flooring. A wine room with daily wine tastings for guests and visitors will further add to the brasserie’s relaxed ambiance. The restaurant opens onto an expansive terrace for al fresco riverside dining, which also includes a BBQ grill and the world’s first Whispering Angel boathouse. Signature dishes include Roast Lincolnshire Suckling Pork with apple and mustard mashed potato and tender stem broccoli, Chicken Milanese with capers and anchovy or fried egg and truffle, Cornish Sole Meuniere with Capers, burnt butter and parsley and Flame grilled Rib Eye Steak with truffle mayo and celery salted fries.

Commenting on the appointment, The Signet Collection’s founder Hector Ross said: “I am thrilled to be welcoming Ronnie to the team at The Mitre and The Signet Collection. Ronnie and I have worked together for almost a decade, he is a true culinary star whose creative flair, energy and enthusiasm to deliver the full client experience will be a huge asset in launching our gastronomy programme. With Ronnie’s fantastic food philosophy and passion, we look forward to Coppernose and 1665 becoming two of London’s most up and coming restaurants, in addition to launching exciting future projects from The Signet Collection”.

Sustainability will be a key driver in determining the menus and culinary operations at The Mitre. In addition to locally sourced produce, the hotel will grow herbs on the orangery roof, and house beehives on the main roof where they will also smoke their own salmon. A Chef on a mission, Ronnie is passionate about reduced food waste and has partnered with Hampton Courts gardeners to produce vegetables to ensure that no food waste goes to landfill.

The Mitre also brews its own beer available on draft, called “The Six Wives”, a delicious light, floral and hoppy ale, made in Hampshire specifically for the hotel and named after the number of wives King Henry VIII had.

As a young child, Ronnie’s earliest food memory is of cooking crépes and trying to flip them, whilst standing on a chair next to his grandma in Uganda. His curiosity about food was further ignited during his teens growing up in Devon where he realised the enjoyment derived from entertaining people through food and drink, and as a way of giving something back. When he’s not in the kitchen, Ronnie can be found hosting events that entertain and inspire locals and guests alike, with Charity Bake Offs, Children’s cooking activities & Supper Clubs always drawing crowds. He is passionate about team culture, training young chefs and giving back to the local community via root to table, farm to fork.

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