University Arms, Cambridge has appointed Lee Clarke as its new Executive Chef, heralding a new culinary chapter for the storied Cambridge hotel. In his new role, Clarke will be responsible for dining throughout the hotel, including the menus and team at their signature restaurant, Parker’s Tavern. He will oversee the brigade of 20 chefs who work around the clock to deliver private dining, room service and a busy events programme throughout the year.

Originally from Peterborough, Clarke first trained under Marco Pierre White at Mirabelle restaurant for two years rising through the ranks of his group before being mentored by the late Albert Roux at Roux Fine Dining restaurant. Having gained over a decade of experience in London, Lee returned home in 2011 to open Clarkes in Peterborough. It was here that he built a reputation for relaxed classic cuisine which saw the restaurant enter several of the UK’s top 100 lists as well as the Michelin Guide, both within two years of opening.

Continuing his journey within Cambridgeshire, Lee opened his next restaurant, Prévost, in 2015. The restaurant helped to put the region on the map, drawing guests from across the UK, having been recognised within months of opening by the Michelin Guide. The restaurant was also awarded 3 AA rosettes and was noted as one to watch the Good Food Guide that same year and Square Meal Top 100 List 2024.

Commenting on his appointment, Lee says, “I’m pleased to be able to draw upon all the skills and experience which I’ve gathered over the past 30 years working in top kitchens across the UK and putting them into practice, particularly at Parker’s Tavern. I’m excited to be back in a large establishment and I’m looking forward to seizing the challenge that lies ahead and the opportunity which comes with it”.

Hotel General Manager, Andrew Crookston comments “We’re thrilled to welcome Lee, who will greatly enhance our team and support us in continuing our mission to be one of the top dining destinations in Cambridge. Lee brings a wealth of experience gleaned across the culinary spectrum, from Michelin-starred dining through to flavourful brasserie-style dishes. He has an innate sense of what diners are looking for and we’re confident that he will be welcomed by both guests and locals here in Cambridge”.

Parker’s Tavern is a destination restaurant in Cambridge overlooking the iconic Parker’s Piece. The vision of designer Martin Brudnizki, it mirrors the communal dining halls synonymous with Cambridge Colleges. This English tavern serves locally sourced, seasonal food, with every dish a whimsical re-imagining of a British classic, sourced from field, fen and England’s seas. The restaurant features Cambridge Blue wall panelling, traditional solid-wood parquet flooring and original stained-glass windows with crest detailing, reminiscent of the traditional architecture of Cambridge University Colleges. The restaurant is part of University Arms, which is a landmark hotel located in the historic heart of Cambridge. First opened in 1834 as a coaching inn, the hotel relaunched alongside Parker’s Tavern in August 2018, after a two year, £80m transformation.