Top chef cuts ties with capital

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 12:28 29/11/2012
Al Brown
Al Brown says making the decision to move to Auckland was tough. "We still really love Wellington."

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Celebrated chef Al Brown is selling his stake in award-winning restaurant Logan Brown and moving to Auckland.

The former Wellingtonian of the Year - who has been a silent partner in the restaurant for the past five years - said he would be focusing on his family, publishing, television and the opening of his new restaurant in Auckland in May next year.

He was selling his 30 per cent stake in Logan Brown to staff and the business's majority shareholder and director, Steve Logan.

The deal was due to be finalised in the next few days, he said yesterday.

"It's too hard to do everything. It's been an amazing chapter [in my life]. I'm still very proud of Logan Brown and it's a great restaurant."

Brown and Logan opened the restaurant in 1996, and the pair's reputation has since spread both nationally and around the world.

Logan Brown was named Cuisine magazine's Restaurant of the Year in 2009, and the pair were named Wellingtonians of the Year not long after.

In 2010 Brown won the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award and People's Choice Award at the New Zealand Post Book Awards for his book Go Fish.

He has also presented television shows - most recently the series Get Fresh with Al Brown.

Brown said he liked to be hands-on with anything he did and wanted to dedicate time to television, publishing and his new restaurant in Federal St near the Depot Eatery, which he also owns.

He also wanted to spend more time with his wife, Liz Langbrown, and their two daughters, whom he spent about 120 nights away from last year. The family would move to Auckland in January and hoped to live in Titirangi.

"It was a tough decision. We still really love Wellington."

Brown's departure from Wellington means his family home and "entertainer's dream" near the beach in Lyall Bay is on the market.

Valued at $860,000, it has two living areas and an open-plan kitchen and dining area.

Outside is a sheltered courtyard with an outdoor fireplace, pizza oven, teppanyaki plate and chargriller.

"We thought we'd live in that house forever. It really is an entertainer's or a cook's dream. It's a great spot right on the water. We're going to miss it terribly."

Logan said it would be business as usual despite Brown's departure, and the restaurant's name would remain the same.

"He's a great guy, a really talented guy, and we've watched how well he's done . . . since he hasn't been bogged down by working in the restaurant. We wish him all the very best."

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- The Dominion Post

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