FURTHER shock waves around a febrile Manchester food scene as Aiden Byrne steps down from is post as chef/director at 20 Stories less than nine months after jumping ship at Manchester House to launch the rival glitzy Spinningfields venue.
Manchester House has since closed, while the 530 cover Ivy, a further arrival in the business district, will open on November 27.
20 Stories owners’ D&D London have issued a statement saying: “Aiden Byrne will be stepping down from his position of Chef Director at 20 Stories. The rooftop restaurant and bar, which opened in Spinningfields in March 2018, is having a highly successful first year of business and has been extremely well received by both customers and food commentators.”
Their CEO Des Gunewardena added: “We are really pleased with what we have created at 20 Stories; it got off to the most incredible start and every day goes from strength to strength. Revenues have been way above our expectations. Aiden has obviously played a significant part in the success of 20 Stories and we would like to thank him very much for his contribution. We offer him our very best wishes for the future.”
In an interview he gave ToM pre-launch he told us: “My title is chef director of the north, so I’ll look after 20 Stories, the company’s four sites in Leeds and any future launches. D&D is looking at opening other sites in the north, potentially Liverpool and Scotland, so that’s where I fit in.
“When it came to the style of the food and the concept it was ‘whatever you want to do Aiden, it’s entirely up to you’. D&D finds specialists in their field and let them do what they want. They’re not puppeteers. They give you the freedom to go off and make the business a success. I’ve been in Manchester for five and a half years now and, being a Northern boy myself, I’ve got a better idea of what the Manchester crowd wants than D&D does.”
So why has it come to an end so swiftly? Where next for him?
Aiden, now 46, famously the youngest chef in the UK to get a Michelin star while at Adlards in Norwich, has continued to run the Church Green Gastropub in Lymm with his wife Sarah. We wish him the best of luck now; his terrific talents deserve a better outlet than the rather in your face 20 Stories (remember that launch painting gimmick of Manc heroes with Aiden?). It would be great if he stayed in the city.