Joel Kissin, former MD of Conran Restaurants, confirmed that he would be leaving Guastavino’s, the company’s New York restaurant, by the end of October.
Kissin has been credited with bolstering the London restaurant scene though his involvement with Sir Terence Conran’s company Conran Holdings, and his establishment of the Quaglino’s and Mezzo outlets.
On Sunday, however, Kissin was reported to have been angered with Sir Terence’s persistent failure to acknowledge his importance in the restaurant group’s success. In Conran’s new autobiography, for example, Kissin says he only gets one “somewhat patronising” mention. He also said that he was frustrated with the company’s decision to put its US expansion plans on hold.
Des Gunewardena, CEO of Conran Holdings, insisted to the Financial Times that Kissin’s departure was not that important and the restaurant business was not now in crisis: “To describe Joel as the linchpin of the Conran empire is an exaggeration.
“We have 17 restaurant businesses in our group and he managed one of them. He has not been involved in the London restaurants for four years. To talk about his departure as a massive blow is quite frankly nonsense.”
“It really is a shame that Joel has taken this opportunity to have a go at Terence,” he added.