HOSPITALITY heavyweight Gary Rudkin is the latest recruit to be appointed at Canal Turn – the largescale, vibrant restaurant and leisure development in Nottingham.

Gary joins the growing Canal Turn team as head of operations for food, beverage and events -overseeing Canal Turn’s restaurant Cleaver and Wake, its relaxed bar and grill Binks Yard, as well as events space Upstairs at Cleaver and Wake and outside plaza and bandstand.

Canal Turn, which is currently recruiting for 80 hospitality roles across several levels including general manager and two deputies, will open in July this year and is the first phase of the impressive £1 billion 36-acre The Island Quarter – one of the largest regeneration sites in the UK.

Gary will work alongside John Whitehead, the founder of Bistrot Pierre who recently took up the role of the project’s director of operations.

Gary said: “I couldn’t be happier to join this dynamic team in this incredible UK city – and getting involved in one of the most exciting leisure destinations in the country today. I am looking forward to working closely with John and the rest of the team – and, in particular, Laurence Henry the head chef at Cleaver and Wake.”

Having cut his teeth on the London hospitality scene more than 30 years ago, becoming one of the UK’s youngest licensees at the age of just 19, Gary went onto to manage a range of major leisure and retail spaces – before landing at brewers Fullers Smith and Turner in the nineties and running several flagship sites.

Gary then left the UK and took up major roles in Dubai, firstly at JA Resorts and then playing an integral part in the opening of the Madinat Jumeriah in 2004. He then spent nine years working for African and Eastern, the largest alcohol distributor in the Gulf, before heading to Sri Lanka to open a beverage firm in Colombo.

He recently returned to the UK – and to Nottingham, a city he knows well.

“Cleaver and Wake and Binks are both going to offer something truly different to the people of Nottingham, the Midlands and beyond and I am proud to be part of that story. I will use my three-plus decades of experience across all aspects of Canal Turn,” said Gary.

He will also be working alongside Laurence Henry, the former Masterchef: The Professionals winner, at Cleaver and Wake, offering a modern, elevated dining experience serving the best meat, fish and vegetables from across the British Isles.

Gary will also oversee Binks Yard offering craft beer, cocktails, grills and wood-fired food in a relaxed environment. The outside events space next to the canal will host arts, music, drama, stand up comedy and other community activities.

John Whitehead said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Gary to the team. His huge experience will be a great asset to the project and we are delighted to have him. We fully expect him to have huge input into the project during the build programme and of course, afterwards as we launch Canal Turn in the summer.

“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.”

Canal Turn is also recruiting for a general manager to oversee both Cleaver and Wake and Binks Yard. As well as a deputy general manager for each venue. To request further details or to apply, please email any queries or your CV and covering letter to Gary at or visit the website.

With more than 80 new roles to fill, the team is on the lookout for a diverse and talented team to ensure the venues are equipped for a smooth and successful opening this summer.

A range of positions are available across all areas of the restaurants, including front of house, back of house, and events. From bar staff and wait team through to senior sous chef and sales and marketing team members – there are opportunities for hospitality experts from all levels and backgrounds.

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

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