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Major coup as the Island Quarter appoints hospitality giant

Major coup as the Island Quarter appoints hospitality giant

The Island Quarter has announced a major appointment to its project delivery team, with Bistrot Pierre co-founder John Whitehead joining as food, beverage and events project director.

John will be overseeing the creation and delivery of restaurant, bar, events and live music venues on the 36-acre site.

With several venues opening their doors to the public later this year upon completion of Canal Turn, the vastly experienced hospitality guru is now looking for a head of operations to work alongside him on the rapidly expanding development.

A co-founder of French cuisine restaurant Bistrot Pierre in Nottingham in 1994 with childhood friend Rob Beacham, John and Rob grew the chain to 25 units nationally along with two country pubs and two bistrots with room. John left the business in July 2020, where he had latterly been a non-executive director in the business.

John said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining The Island Quarter delivery team as project director, helping to create a compelling food, beverage & entertainment offering that will make the site the go-to destination for dining and event experiences in Nottingham.

“The majority of the site has lay derelict and an eye-sore on the Nottingham cityscape over the 25 years that I have lived and worked here. The Island Quarter is the most exciting development to happen to the East Midlands in recent times; we have a unique opportunity to create something special across a 36-acre canvas in Nottingham that will energise the city for generations to come.

“I was attracted to the development by the ambitions and professionalism of the project team to rejuvenate what was once a thriving industrial area. The Island Quarter will be a unique challenge for me with its compressed timescales and responsibilities, but am confident we as a team can deliver outstanding hospitality experiences.

“It will be a particular privilege to work with chef Laurence Henry to deliver a world-beating dining experience at Canal Turn, with further details to be revealed very soon.”

Robert Ware, chief executive of The Conygar Investment Company, said:

“John is a tremendous appointment for The Island Quarter to lead on our food, beverage and events offerings. His expertise and reputation for cultivating exquisite dining experiences in the city is unparalleled and makes him a phenomenal asset to our expanding project delivery team.”

John will also be directing Phase 1B, with a 223-room hotel, 247 apartments and extensive food and beverage outlets in the pipeline to expand the site’s appeal.

To support John as the site comes to fruition, The Island Quarter is seeking an experienced operator with a proven track in fine dining and high volume to assume the role of food, beverage and events head of operations.

John added:

“We’re looking for a highly-experienced and capable individual to manage and oversee large, sophisticated events. A devoted passion for cooking, dining and the guest experience is essential, along with forensic attention to detail.

“We are building an industry-leading hospitality team, always seeking continuous improvement in our aim to create the premier food, drink and events destination in Nottingham.”

To request further details or to apply, please email any queries or your CV and covering letter to John Whitehead at or visit

To find out more about The Island Quarter and Canal Turn, please visit:

Picture: Chef Laurence Henry and John Whitehead, food, beverage and events director.

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