Durham restaurant Bistro 21 has welcomed back two former members of staff after a year working in Australia. Robbie Bell will take up the post of head chef at Bistro 21, having spent time in two of Sydney's most prestigious restaurants. He is joined by girlfriend Rebecca Tofield who has been appointed assistant manager.
Bell first joined the 21 Hospitality Group, which owns Bistro 21 and is led by restaurateur Terry Laybourne in 2003. He first worked as the junior sous chef at Newcastle's Cafe 21 before moving to Jesmond Dene House Hotel where he became resident sous chef.
After arriving in Sydney, Bell gained six months experience in Quay, voted Australia's best restaurant in 2009/10. And for his final six months, Bell worked alongside Australian chef and restaurateur Neil Perry at his new up-market steak house, Rockpool Bar & Grill, winner of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2010 Best New Restaurant.
Laybourne said: "I am thrilled that Robbie and Rebecca have returned from their travels. I was disappointed when they initially left us so it's great to have them back with lots of fresh ideas."