History will be made tomorrow (12 September) when Anton Edelmann leaves the Savoy hotel in London after 21 years.
Edelmann, who joined the hotel on 3 October 1982 aged 30 and is its longest-serving chef des cuisines, said he felt ready to leave his 15-hour-a-day job and was looking forward to joining caterer Sodexho next week as principal chef.
"I thought I would work here for a couple of years, but then time goes by," said the chef. "I always knew, though, that I wouldn't be here until I retire. It's too long and too tough."
But any sadness he felt when he resigned six months ago was, he said, behind him. "I feel very excited and I feel good about what I am doing. I knew a year ago that I was going to leave and I have been talking to Sodexho for a long time."
He said highlights had included a dinner for 500 guests to mark the hotel's centenary in 1989, and the millennium banquet, when 220 guests paid £3,000 per head. About 1,500 people dine at the Savoy each day at its River restaurant and Thames Foyer, and through room service, banqueting and private dining.
Asked if he had learnt anything from day-to-day cooking at the Savoy, he said: "Patience."
Speculation had been rife as to whether Edelmann would remain at the Savoy since it was announced in November last year that Marcus Wareing, chef and owner of London restaurant P‚trus, would be taking over the running of the Savoy Grill. The Grill reopened at the beginning of May to critical acclaim.
Edelmann will be the third key member of staff to leave the Savoy in recent weeks. Angelo Maresca, who joined as maŒtre d' of the Savoy Grill on the same day as Edelmann, left last month to join Brown's hotel in London; and last week Michael Shepherd, managing director for six years, joined the Hilton hotel on London's Park Lane.
Georg Fuchs, former executive chef of the Langham Hilton in London, replaces Edelmann.