Michelin star shock as Ilkley’s Box Tree loses out

Ilkley's Box Tree restaurant had held a Michelin star for 14 years running but has missed out in the 2019 awards round. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Ilkley's Box Tree restaurant had held a Michelin star for 14 years running but has missed out in the 2019 awards round. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
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Ilkley’s award-winning restaurant Box Tree has lost its Michelin star, ending a run of 14 successive years with the prestigious ranking.

Establishments deemed the best of the best across Britain are awarded stars each year and listed in The Michelin Guide, and while five Yorkshire venues have retained their single-star status in the latest round, Simon and Rena Gueller’s Box Tree is a shock omission.

Mr Gueller said he was “hugely disappointed” but that he had faith in his team after a change in the kitchen and a recent refurbishment.

“I’m very surprised,” Mr Gueller said. “We made a decision this year to hand over the reins in the kitchen to a young head chef who we have a lot of faith in and I think it’s down to him to earn that star back - obviously he’s devastated as well, but there are worse things in this world.”

Kieran Smith worked his way up to become Box Tree’s head chef after joining as sous chef in March 2016.

“The restaurant is extremely busy, I personally think the food is fantastic and we have a lot of faith in Kieran,” Mr Gueller said. “Whether the change over affected their decision and they want to give him more time to see what he does, I don’t know. I’ve been in the world of Michelin all my life and I still don’t understand how it works.

Simon and Rena Gueller, the husband and wife team behind Box Tree in Ilkley. Mr Gueller said he will do everything he can to ensure the restaurant reclaims its star in the future. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Simon and Rena Gueller, the husband and wife team behind Box Tree in Ilkley. Mr Gueller said he will do everything he can to ensure the restaurant reclaims its star in the future. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“We cook for our customers and will continue to do so, and I will do everything I can to make sure we get that star back.”

In the latest awards round, The Star Inn at Harome, The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, the Black Swan at Oldstead, the Yorke Arms in Pateley Bridge and the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton all retained their single Michelin stars.

Michael O’Hare, who runs The Man Behind The Curtain, tweeted: “I’m a bit gutted we didn’t get the 2nd but there’s always next year.”

Prashad in Bradford, Jöro in Sheffield and Skosh in York have all won Bib Gourmands, while the chef who cooked for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, Clare Smyth, won two stars with her first attempt at her own eatery, Core, in London’s Notting Hill.