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Cotto restaurant will not reopen at The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, putting 36 staff at risk

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Cotto restaurant will not reopen at The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, its owners have confirmed.

The Gonville is a family-owned hotel
The Gonville is a family-owned hotel

The restaurant’s 36 employees are due to be made redundant on July 31, although the hotel said it would try to offer new roles to them where possible under its revised plans for a food and beverage service.

Michelin-star winning chef Hans Schweitzer, and his partner Ruth Butler, who have run Cotto at The Gonville for three years and will retain the brand, said they believed it would be impossible to operate the fine dining restaurant alongside other dining services in the hotel post-lockdown.

Their decision was announced after the government gave the green light yesterday for hotels and restaurants, along with pubs, cinemas and many other venues, to reopen from July 4, with social distancing measures in place.

Hans said: “After three successful years it is with great regret that Ruth and I and the other directors of Cotto Restaurant at the Gonville Hotel have come to the conclusion that it will not be possible to continue to operate an additional fine dining restaurant at the hotel in the changed environment, post-lockdown.

“Social distancing and legal requirements both in the restaurant and kitchen areas make it impossible to plan and run two safe and viable dining operations.

“We would like to say to all our friends and guests a huge thank you for all the loyalty and support and to stay in touch with us, via social media and email and we will keep you informed with future developments, when circumstances allow.”

David Chaplin, chairman of Gonville Hotels Limited said, said: “We would like to thank Ruth and Hans and their team for three very successful years at the Gonville Hotel.

“It has been a great project to be associated with and we are saddened that it has not been possible to put in place practical steps to enable Cotto to continue at the Gonville.

“We wish Ruth and Hans every success in their next project.

The Gonville Hotel. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Gonville Hotel. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Looking to the future, food and beverage at The Gonville will necessarily be provided in different ways to maximise safety but there will be no compromise on service standards or quality and we look forward to reopening our hotel and its restaurant, bar and Wellness at the earliest opportunity.”

Hans secured a Michelin star at a previous restaurant, Table in Germany, and since has run restaurants in the Caribbean and in Cambridge. His most famous dish is the chocolate piano he created for Luciano Pavarotti in 1998 and that has also become a favourite at his Cotto restaurants.

The Gonville, in Gonville Place, is an independent, family-owned hotel.

There are plans from Enchanted Cinema to run a socially-distanced outdoor cinema there in July.

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