Top chef Ernst Van Zyl to run new restaurant at Liverpool’s Cunard Building

Leisure operator Signature Living has appointed Ernst as executive chef for its brasserie, restaurant, bar and banqueting business at the iconic Three Graces site. Tony McDonough reports

Award-winning chef Ernst Van Zyl


An award-winning chef is to oversee the food offer at a new venture in Liverpool’s iconic Cunard Building.

Leisure operator Signature Living has appointed Ernst Van Zyl as executive chef for its brasserie, restaurant, bar and banqueting business at the Pier Head site.

Ernst, 40, has worked alongside some of the biggest names in the catering business including Heston Blumenthal and Jonny Lake, and has gained a number of AA rosettes.

Originally from South Africa, Ernst came to the UK in October 1998 to join the Hilton Group in Manchester, before moving to the Kensington Hilton as junior sous chef.

This was followed by a promotion to the Park Lane Hilton as a senior banqueting chef, working in the grand ball room and regularly preparing banquets for more than 1,000 guests.

More recently, he made the decision to go self-employed, taking the opportunity to work at The Lord Clyde in Kerridge just outside Macclesfield.

The 40-cover country pub quickly became a foodie destination and achieved 3AA rosettes.

This saw The Lord Clyde becoming Cheshire’s first and only public house to hold this honour – an accolade Ernst is hugely proud of as it was for a team of just two – himself and his partner Sarah Richmond.

He currently heads up Cheshire’s The Hanging Gate, where he continues to gain recognition for his visionary dishes.

Ernst has also cooked alongside Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Rene Redzepi at Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, as well as Bjorn Frantzen and Jim Lofdahl at Restaurant Frantzen in Stockholm.

In 2005, he was appointed as head chef at the Stanneylands Hotel in Wilmslow, where he maintained the hotel’s 2AA rosette accolade.

 Ernst has also earned semi-final berths in the Northern Chef of the Year awards in both 2011 and 2012.

Mike Mounfield, Signature Living’s director of food operations, said: “His wealth of experience and culinary knowledge combined makes him the ideal candidate to take on the challenge.

“We can’t wait for Ernst to get to work and establish the new venture as the most prestigious restaurant in Liverpool.”


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