It might not seem the norm to have a Czech chef spearhead a return to British roots for a fine dining restaurant.
But then again there isn’t many chefs like Jarda Hlavsa who has recently taken over as head chef at Manchester235 casino’s stunning Linen restaurant.
The likeable 31-year-old, who arrived in the North West in December 2004 to take up a job as chef de partie at the Malmaison, has a laid back style which is completely out of kilter with the public perception of chefs built up through years of enduring Gordon Ramsey’s tiresome style of man management.
He said: “I don’t see the point in getting stressed if there is no need. I surround myself with a team of chefs which have the same goal as me. It works well doing that and I find that chefs stay with me for a long time.
“It has taken me a few weeks to get my team together here but I am happy with it now and we are almost ready to launch the new menu.”
The new menu is a return to Linen’s roots, a contemporary British style with the wow factor.
Having been lucky enough to test out the menu earlier this month, it definitely ticks both boxes.
Jarda said: “The restaurant here is a lovely place to eat and I want people to come here to enjoy the food and not feel that it is just a restaurant at a casino.
“Manchester235 is so much more than that and people can come here to have a drink in the bar and something to eat in Linen.
“Linen was known for good British food and that is what I want to get back to.”
Dishes on the new menu, which is due to launch in the next few weeks, include squid and chorizo salad, quite possibly the greatest pork chop I have ever tasted and a gorgeous chorizo-encrusted cod fillet.
NEW MENU: Chef Jarda puts the finishing touches to a new dish
While the menu itself may be the brainchild of Jarda, he is the first to acknowledge how important it is for a chef to have full control over his team and his suppliers.
He said: “I have a lot of control over things at Linen and that is very important for a chef. The casino is obviously part of a big group but I have been able to choose my own team and suppliers.
“As a chef, you need to have the opportunity to build up a relationship with suppliers and I like to know that someone cares for the produce as much as I do before it arrives.
“We have some great suppliers in the North West and Cheshire and I have been able to change a couple of them because I need to be happy with the produce.”
Starting his career at the Radisson Hotel in his native Prague, Jarda worked his way up from chef de partie at the Mal to become head chef and helped transform the hotel’s popular French-style Malmaison Brasserie into the Smoak Bar & Grill.
Jarda, who lives in Manchester with his wife Lucy and seven-month-old son Daniel, says the time felt right to move on to a new project having helped build the Malmaison’s reputation within the city.
He said: “I was looking around Manchester for a new challenge but it had to be something that was right for me.
“Linen is a stunning restaurant so it was an easy decision for me. I’m hoping that it will get the recognition it deserves and my overall ambition to have our restaurant included in the Michelin Star Guide. I am really looking forward to giving the a la carte menu a real wow factor.”
For more information about Linen click here.