Top restaurant near Horsham to reopen with new Michelin-starred chef

One of the Horsham area’s most prestigious restaurants is to reopen next month with a new Michelin-starred chef at the helm.

The Pass at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding has appointed Ben Wilkinson as head chef and he will be joined by his partner Monika Zurawska who will be leading the front of house team.

Ben previously gained success at The Cottage in the Wood, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Lake District.

A hotel spokesperson said: “Ben’s menu at The Pass will bring seasonal and local produce to diners' plates, very much an ode to Sussex, highlights include his famous Sussex Downs venison with fennel, caper, smoke and rye; wild sea trout with cucumber, oysters, and roe.”

Chef Ben Wilkinson with partner Monika Zurwaska

South Lodge general manager David Connell said: “The past two years have seen us working with some fabulous chefs for short term residencies, however, we now feel the time is right to bring in a more permanent team to take the restaurant onto new levels.

"The Pass has always been about providing excellence and fabulous dining experiences, and we believe Ben is the chef to deliver this for the longer term.

"Having held a Michelin Star at The Cottage in the Wood in Keswick, along with being listed at number 24 in the UK Top 100 Restaurants list 2021, Ben demonstrates the quality of menu he can bring to South Lodge.”

Ben himself said: “We are very pleased to be joining the team at South Lodge to reopen The Pass.

South Lodge Hotel at Lower Beeding

"It is a fantastic venue where we will be able to produce a really exciting menu and experience for our guests and add another great restaurant to the hotel.

"It is a big move down from The Lake District, but I am excited to get working with the produce and suppliers of Sussex.”

Ben began his career 20 years ago at a golf course restaurant in Derbyshire, which then led him to The Windows at The Hilton Park Lane in London, before taking up a role in Netherlands at a restaurant in the Hague.

It was there that Ben got his first taste for Michelin-level cooking. When returning to the UK he joined Holbeck Ghyll in Windemere for two years, followed by a year at Daniel Clifford's Midsummer House before returning to Holbeck for another year.