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Meet the people behind the crabtree

We have been very fortunate in having some great people to work with us at The Crabtree.
Our policy is to attract bright, motivated, professionals who have a passion and knowledge for food, drink and service.

Simon Hope


The Head Honcho

Originally from Kent, he studied Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes University before moving to London to run the legendary Food for Thought restaurant in Covent Garden.
In 1981 he opened Food for friends restaurants in Brighton followed by Food For Friends Patisserie in 1986 and is the author of 3 cookery books. Since 2004 he has pursued a career in event catering with Food Solutions Partnership, consultancy and journalism.

Jon Gilham-Hills


The Architect

Quite simply Jon is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet!
He's also a perfectionist with an attention to detail that means we will have not only the best kept cellar in Sussex but also a fine selection of English, Organic, Vegetarian and Vegan wines.
Jon is a highly skilled carpenter and if you are joining us for dinner the chances are you'll be sitting at a table built by him!

Richard Wood

Head Chef

The Chef

We welcome our new Head Chef -Richard Wood fresh from Glyndebourne Opera House – where he was Head Chef. Richard is by far the most experienced Head chef the Crabtree has ever had and his CV is a testament to the culinary genius he is. Former restaurants include The Boxwood Café, Fleur, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and the eponymous ‘Aubergine’ – probably 4 of the best restaurants ever. Having worked for and with some of the giants of world gastronomy, Richard now wants to put his own taste buds and cooking style firmly on the map through the Crabtree Kitchen. Needless to say, that means Richard vows to source ingredients that are fresh, local and seasonal and cook them with skill and flare. The menu succeeds because Richard excels at working closely with suppliers to produce a real variety of excellent dishes for both bar and restaurant. Everything on the menu will be produced by Richard and his team from scratch. From daily dishes to delicious fresh breads, ice creams, sorbets and truffles.