New head chef for The Grove as Ben Bayly steps aside

20 February, 2018 by
Hospitality Business

Ben Bayly (r) is set to leave The Grove.

Award-winning chef, Ben Bayly is leaving The Grove, one of New Zealand’s  top fine-dining restaurants, making way for his mate and successor, Scott Denning.

After more than eight years at The Grove – and more recently sister restaurant Baduzzi – Bayly says he is ready for a change, taking time off to regroup, travel and spend time with family.

Scott Denning.

With big shoes to fill, his replacement Scott Denning is Auckland born and raised, but like Bayly, cut his teeth at revered Michelin star restaurants in London, including Le Gavroche, The Square and Pied à Terre.

Running his own restaurant, Saison in Epsom, for three years, Denning’s background also includes time on superyachts in the Caribbean and Mediterranean and in Russia where he helped set up and run various Western and Asian style restaurants in St Petersburg and Moscow. It is this international influence, exposure to different cultures and experience in top European kitchens that Denning brings to The Grove.


Started in 2004 by owners Michael and Annette Dearth, The Grove has been home to an impressive roll-call of top New Zealand chefs including Michael Meredith from 2004, Sid Sahrawat from 2006 and Bayly from 2009 – receiving numerous accolades over the years including best fine dining restaurant in the Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards 2017 and three hats in the 2017 Cuisine Good Food Awards.

With similar backgrounds in top London kitchens and friends for some years, Bayly recommended Denning for the role, with Bayly himself put forward for the job by Sahrawat back in 2009.

Of his successor, Bayly believes Denning is up for the job. “He’s a bloody good cook. Personality wise he’s also a good match for Michael which is really important when you get to that level.”