A RESTAURANT founded by a top celebrity chef has been named as one of the best places to work in the country.

Brasserie Blanc, operated by the Heartwood Collection, was founded by Raymond Blanc and Mark Derry in 1996. The chain, with a restaurant in Winchester, was included on the Sunday Times best place in the UK to work list.

It is part of the Heartwood Collection, which operates 23 Heartwood inns and 14 Brasserie Blanc restaurants in the UK with a total of 1,300 employees. Brasserie Blanc Winchester opened in Jewry Street in 2008.

Hampshire Chronicle: The staff at Brasserie Blanc WinchesterThe staff at Brasserie Blanc Winchester (Image: Jessica Lawler)

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The collection met the requirements with an average 81 per cent engagement score in the workplace survey, 9 per cent above the average industry engagement rating. They also scored ‘excellent’ in four out of the six workplace categories.

Melissa, a restaurant manager at the Winchester branch told the Chronicle “I’ve worked in quite a few restaurants, and I’ve been here for nine years, that speaks volumes in itself. We have a very good team morale.”

She said that appreciation is recognised in the company, and that flexible working is incorporated within the company benefits.

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Helen Melvin, people director at Heartwood Collection, said: “We are delighted to have been placed in the Sunday Times Best Places to work. The insights we have gained from taking part also highlight how we can continue to ensure Heartwood Collection remains a positive working environment for everyone.”

Richard Ferrier, Heartwood Collection CEO, added: “To be recognised as one of the best places to work in the UK is a massive achievement and I am extremely proud of everyone at Heartwood Collection.”

The company is aiming to expand its business in the UK by 2027, with hopes to grow to 61 pubs and restaurants in the UK by 2027.