Bar 44 has appointed a head chef and general manager to head up its new Cardiff operation.
Manuel Monzon, who was brought up in Gran Canaria, joins the award-winning tapas restaurant as head chef. Having trained under Michelin-starred chefs including David Cavalier and Tom Kerridge, Monzon returns to Wales from his position as head chef at the Old Down Manor in Bristol.
Monzon will use his experience of working in a number of two and three AA rosette restaurants, including a stint at Mercure Holland House Hotel in Cardiff, as well as time working in Seville, to help develop the offering at the third Bar 44 restaurant to open in Wales next month.
He will work alongside Bar 44’s co-founder Owen Morgan to develop the menus of contemporary tapas dishes, using meticulously sourced and seasonal ingredients from Spain and Wales.
Sophie Bowen has been appointed general manager of the new restaurant on Westgate Street having worked at Bar 44 in Cowbridge for the last four years. Starting as assistant manager, Sophie, who is trained in molecular mixology, has progressed up the career ladder to her current position as general manager of the Cowbridge restaurant. Sophie, who worked in Gran Canaria for a number of years, has played an instrumental role in the restaurant’s success which has seen it receive national acclaim winning the Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year 2015 for Wales.
These are the first of over 30 new posts to be filled at the new Cardiff restaurant, with recruitment now in full swing for supervisors, bar staff, waiters/waitresses and kitchen staff.
Owen Morgan, co-founder of Bar 44, said: “Having worked at Bar 44 for the past four years, Sophie knows the company inside and out. She shares the same passion for Spain as we do and her knowledge of Spanish produce and suppliers is second to none. It was therefore a natural step to appoint her as our general manager of Cardiff. We need someone who is going to be able to hit the ground running and train all our new staff and Sophie is the ideal candidate.
“Manuel came recommended to us a few years ago by one of our Spanish suppliers. At the time, we didn’t have any vacancies but since then we have kept in touch. The fact that he is Spanish and has previously worked in Cardiff made him the number one choice when we came to sourcing a head chef.
“These are two crucial appointments as we ramp up plans for the launch of the restaurant next month. We now embark on a recruitment process to source the rest of the team. As Sophie’s progression in the company shows, there are lots of opportunities to move up the career ladder. We look for staff that share the same passion for Spain as we do and then invest heavily in their training to ensure the best experience for our customers. It’s an exciting, yet extremely busy, time for us.”
Bar 44 in Cowbridge was established in 2002 due to the Morgan brothers’ love for fresh Spanish food, having holidayed there as a family. The success of the Cowbridge restaurant led the brothers to open their second restaurant in Penarth in 2012.
The restaurants have received UK-wide recognition from the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 and Bar 44 in Cowbridge has recently been awarded Waitrose Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year for Wales. It follows being included in The Sunday Times Food List Cheap Eats Guide, which profiles 130 restaurants in the UK that provide value for money food, and runner up for Best Spanish Wine list for independent restaurants in the prestigious UK wide Harpers’ Wine awards.