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Tom Brown’s Michelin-starred restaurant Cornerstone to close amidst wave of high-profile closures

Published:  05 June, 2024

Tom Brown, the chef behind the Michelin-starred restaurant Cornerstone, has announced that his establishment will be closing its doors. The news marks the end of an era for the Hackney-based restaurant, which had garnered widespread acclaim for its innovative seafood dishes and contemporary approach to British cuisine.

Cornerstone, which opened in 2018, quickly became a gastronomic hotspot, earning a Michelin star in 2019. Known for its minimalist decor and open kitchen, Brown, a protégé of Nathan Outlaw, expressed deep sadness over the closure, citing a combination of economic pressures and the ongoing challenges faced by the hospitality industry.

“Cornerstone has been my proudest moment, and it still fills my heart with pride to reflect on what it represents for me, the people who have worked here, and those we have had the pleasure of serving,” said Brown in a statement.

 “As well as being my home for the last six years, it has been a place where I have had the privilege of working with some of London’s greatest talent including head chef, James Toth, and Kelly Cullen.

“Now, I’m excited about the future of Pearly Queen and what we’re doing there and exploring new projects in the future too!”

Cornerstone’s closure is part of a troubling trend of high-profile Michelin-starred restaurants shutting down across the UK in the past 12 months. This wave of closures highlights the ongoing struggles faced by the industry, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, rising costs and labour shortages.

Famously, of course, London trailblazer-turned-stalwart Le Gavroche closed its doors in January 2024, although this was deemed to be more to do with the restaurant having run its course after more than half a century of service. This move did, however, highlight ongoing closures across the sector. 

Another significant loss was The Greenhouse, which held two Michelin stars and was known for its elegant French cuisine under the stewardship of chef Alex Dilling. The Mayfair restaurant closed its doors following the pandemic, ending a 19-year legacy of culinary excellence.

Furthermore, Casamia, the Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant led by chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, closed in 2022. Despite its critical acclaim and dedicated following, Sanchez-Iglesias decided to shutter the restaurant to focus on new projects and personal well-being.

These closures reflect a broader trend affecting the UK’s fine dining sector, where rising operational costs, supply chain issues and a shifting dining culture have put unprecedented pressure on even the most acclaimed establishments. The industry continues to navigate these challenges, with many restaurateurs calling for greater support and innovative solutions to sustain their businesses.