Where it all began...

Joyce Molyneux

In 1974, the gastronomic landscape witnessed the birth of "The Carved Angel," a haven of culinary excellence owned by the pioneering Joyce Molyneux. Notably, Joyce etched her name in history by becoming one of the first women in the UK to earn a coveted Michelin Star. This prestigious accolade was a testament to her unwavering commitment to crafting highquality modern British cuisine, meticulously using only the finest local ingredients.

In an era dominated by culinary legends like the Roux brothers and Raymond Blanc, Joyce stood as a solitary female figure at the forefront of the revolution. Her journey at the Carved Angel in Dartmouth, Devon, began in 1974 when she assumed the role of head chef. Here, she not only made the restaurant her own until her retirement in 1999 but also achieved the remarkable feat of being one of the first British female chefs to secure a Michelin star.

Joyce's impact extended beyond the kitchen, making her a feminist beacon in her later years as her predominantly female staff and assistants went on to achieve distinguished careers. In 2017, she received the Observer Food Monthly's lifetime achievement award, a fitting tribute to her enduring legacy.

The Angel After Joyce


In the culinary tapestry of 2000, the renowned Carved Angel and the Angel Café found new custodians in Michelin-starred chef Peter Gorton and partner Paul Roston, who seized the opportunity with Joyce's retirement. Their acquisition marked a fresh chapter for the establishments, as David Jones took the helm as head chef, spending valuable weeks alongside Joyce before the official transition. David Jones, with a stellar culinary resume including head chef roles at the Box Tree in Ilkley and Ynyshir, garnered three AA rosettes by 26 and a Michelin Star by 28. His two-year stint at the Carved Angel, ending in January 2002, left an indelible mark, earning him fond remembrance among Dartmouth locals.

The closure left the grand mock Tudor building empty and silent by the river for several years, signifying the end of a culinary journey that had seen various chapters unfold under the stewardship of different chefs.


In 2004, Gorton and Roston decided to pass the torch, striking a deal with renowned chef John Burton-Race. Fresh from his experiences in France, documented in the TV series "French Leave," Burton-Race sought a restaurant near his Devon home, finding the perfect fit in the Carved Angel. The establishment underwent refurbishment and emerged as the New Angel in 2004, earning a Michelin star in 2005 under Burton-Race's culinary prowess.


Despite a temporary closure in 2007 due to family issues, Burton-Race, with the support of Clive Jacobs, reopened the restaurant in early 2008. Subsequent years saw a succession of chefs, with Nathan Thomas taking over from Burton-Race, followed by the recruitment of Michelin-starred chef Alan Murchison. Murchison, looking for a fresh start, renamed the restaurant Angélique in 2011, marking a new era that unfortunately came to an end in November 2013 when his company went into liquidation.

A New Legacy

In 2016, the Holland Group, a family-owned enterprise overseeing diverse businesses in Dartmouth, including restaurants, holiday apartments, and retail establishments, acquired the building from Clive Jacobs. Their vision unfolded as they transformed the first and second floors into high-quality holiday apartments while reviving the ground floor into a fully operational restaurant, reclaiming its original name, the Angel.

Maintaining a commitment to the venue's tradition of fine dining and aspiring to resurrect the status it enjoyed during Joyce's era, the Group sought a female chef capable of elevating the restaurant and its reputation. In the early months of 2018, the 26-year-old chef Elly Wentworth, then working alongside Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, contemplated several enticing career offers. Elly, intrigued by the opportunity at the Angel, discovered it through a friend's recommendation. After multiple visits, she ultimately embraced the role of head chef, drawn to the unique challenges presented by the Angel and its illustrious history.

Much like Joyce, Elly passionately champions the use of fresh, seasonal, and sustainable produce in her dishes. She collaborates closely with local suppliers who understand her culinary vision. Her modern British cooking, influenced by global flavours, resonates with diners and critics alike. Mirroring Joyce's legacy, Elly and her team operate within an open kitchen, allowing diners to witness their culinary craft.

Under Elly's leadership, the Angel has flourished, consistently earning accolades and gaining national attention. Those who cherished dining at the Carved Angel during Joyce's tenure are returning, expressing delight in seeing another accomplished female chef in the kitchen, delivering exceptional food.