Adam Handling appoints young head chef for Cornish zero-waste restaurant

Michelin-starred chef Adam Handling has appointed Connor Blades as Head Chef at Ugly Butterfly in St Ives, Cornwall.

Ugly Butterfly is Adam’s sustainable, zero-waste focused restaurant that launched at the luxurious Carbis Bay Estate last August, offering British food, inspired by Cornwall.

Connor joined the Ugly Butterfly team from the opening of the restaurant as Sous Chef and is now taking the reins from previous Head Chef, Jamie Park. Jamie is taking on an exciting new role within the wider Adam Handling Restaurant Group, to be announced at a later date.

Connor, who is only 23, has spent the majority of his career within the Adam Handling Restaurant Group, joining back in 2014 as a college student when he first moved to London.

He worked for Adam part-time whilst he was studying, and loved it so much that he decided to leave college to join the Adam Handling Restaurant Group apprenticeship programme to become a qualified chef.

He was part of the team that launched Adam’s first independent restaurant, The Frog E1, and stayed there for over a year before leaving to gain experience at other restaurants, both in London and abroad. He spent some years working with Simon Rogan at Roganic and Aulis in both London and Hong Kong.

In December 2020, Adam and Jamie invited Connor to re-join the group and assist in launching Ugly Butterfly in summer 2022, in the stunning St. Ives. In 2021, Connor was named ‘UK Young Chef of the Year’ in the prestigious Young Chef Young Waiter Competition.

Said Connor, “I’m over the moon to be taking over as Head Chef at Ugly Butterfly. I really identify with the ethos of the restaurant, being as sustainable as possible and sourcing incredible produce from super local suppliers.

' I’m really proud to have been part of the team that opened the restaurant and to now lead it alongside Adam and Jamie. This is my first Head Chef role and I’m grateful to Adam for putting his faith in me, it’s an exciting opportunity.

'The AHRG is a brilliant company to work for, we really are a family, and Adam has been a great mentor. He’s taught me most things I know, and he’s always been there for me to talk to when times are good or bad.”

Adam added, “Connor has been with me for years. He first walked into my restaurant when he was 15 years old, initially for a stage before he decided he wanted to stay for a while. He was a little legend from the beginning.

'He spent a few years developing his skills abroad before coming back to us, and to see his journey over the eight years I’ve known him, from apprentice to Head Chef, is really an incredible achievement.

'He’s the youngest ever Head Chef I’ve appointed, he’s even beaten my record! I’m super proud of Connor and if I could pinpoint one person to be the future of our group, it would be him.”