Marco's netted a seafood legend

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The Independent Online

Marco Pierre White, the celebrity chef, is buying the central London outlets of Wheeler's of St James in an attempt to revive the once-famous fish restaurant chain.

The business, which was founded in 1856, is part of Compass Group. In the 1980s it was bought by Forte, which was bought by Granada, which in turn merged its leisure operations with Compass.

The chain once had outlets across the UK, but only seven remain. The five not being sold to Mr White are going to an unnamed buyer, believed to be Robert Earl, the entrepreneur behind the Planet Hollywood chain, now owned by Rank.

Mr White has a longstanding relationship with Compass, having opened a restaurant in its five-star Hyde Park Hotel. He also has a string of top restaurants, including the Mirabelle, the Criterion and the newly opened Parisienne Chophouse.

The Leeds-born chef is known as much for the sharpness of his temper as for his culinary edge. He came to prominence at Harvey's, a restaurant in south London.

He is expected to bring a fresh approach to the traditional Wheeler's menu.

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