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Ex-Michelin star chef Steve Drake determined to make new Dorking restaurant 'something special'

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: January 10, 2017

Surrey Advertiser SMJF10012017SteveDrake

Steve Drake outside his new restaurant

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Acclaimed chef Steve Drake has revealed more about this plans to transform the vacant Little Dudley House site into "something special".

Drake is set to open his new restaurant, called Sorrel, at the building, in South Street.

The 43-year-old chef was previously the owner of Drake's in Ripley but handed ownership to his wife in a divorce settlement last year.

Drake said that he expects Sorrel to open in either May or June but he would like to open earlier if possible.

The restaurant has been named after Drake's favourite herb, which he says is "zingy and refreshing" and a good reflection of his food.

"I have got a bit of a historical connection with Dorking. The first restaurant I worked at, Drakes on the Pond, was in Abinger Hammer, not that far from Dorking.

"I used to travel through Dorking a lot in the afternoons", he said. "In between lunch and dinner services and I got to know the town and the people. After leaving Drakes in Ripley, I wanted to go to a new area and establish myself.

"Dorking is a great town and I really love the Surrey Hills and Box Hill. I do a lot of running, I am an outdoorsy person."

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Drake is a former winner of the prestigious Roux Scholarship and has worked in some of Europe's finest kitchens including The Oak Room, under the mentorship of Marco Pierre White.

Asked why he chose the 300-year-old Little Dudley House for his next venture, Drake said: "It is such an incredible building, when I saw it, I thought 'wow, I can really make something special here'.

"The car park is big, there is a big bar and lounge area, and the restaurant can cover around 40. We are going to install an incredible new kitchen space and it is a well known building in Dorking."

Asked whether he was aiming to get a Michelin Star for Sorrel, Drake said: " That is out of my hands. I am just going to make it the best I possibly can and pick up where I left off from the last restaurant in Ripley.

"I am going to work very hard and make it the best restaurant I can make it."

READ MORE: Dorking restaurant fails to sell at auction but landlord in talks with potential new tenant

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