New head chef for Box Tree in bid to regain Michelin star

ilkey's Box Tree restaurant has a new head chef, it has been revealed today. Samira Effa joins the reknowned Yorkshire restaurant which this year lost the Michelin star it had held for 14 years.

Box Tree, Ilkley. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Box Tree, Ilkley. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Box Tree owner Simon Gueller made the announcement on Twitter: “I am delighted to announce @samira_effa is joining me as Head Chef of the Box Tree.” Effa joins from the Alimentum in Cambridge, which recently closed, and is seen as integral in Gueller’s bid to regain the star he lost this month as he returns to the kitchen and starts to build a new team around him.

Gueller and wife Rena, who runs front of house, took over the historic restaurant, where the likes of Marco Pierre White cut their teeth, in 2004. It gained a Michelin star the following year.

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Effa replaces former head chef Kieran Smith who announced last week that he was leaving Box Tree after a ‘fantastic two and a half years.’ It was a mutual decision after Gueller revealed he was returning to the kitchen after taking a back seat for more than five years. He said losing the star had ‘reawoken’ something in him.

It is a return to Yorkshire for Effa who started her career at Bradley’s Restaurant in Huddersfield as Chef du Partie. She has also worked at one Michelin starred 21212 in Edinbrugh and Bohemia Jersey.

“I am extremely excited to be joining @BoxTreeIlkley as Head Chef,” said Effa.

Leeds’s Michelin starred chef Michael O’Hare Tweeted. “Yeaaaahhhhh, I know that girl! Great cook, Simon. Welcome to Yorkshire.