ONE of Wales’ best-known restaurants run by top chef Stephen Terry could become a day hospice providing care for people facing the end of their lives. 

The Hardwick, near Abergavenny, closed suddenly last October – just months after the office administrator in charge of its finances was sentenced alongside her husband, a casual chef at the restaurant, for a fraud that cost the business £150,000. 

Mr Terry – TV chef Gordon Ramsay’s best man and a BBC Great British Menu winner – also revealed later that he and his wife, who co-owned the business, had separated, and he had moved in with another woman.

The business, including a three-bedroom adjoining owner’s accommodation, went up for sale for a reported £825,000, in February. 

A planning application has now been submitted that shows Newport-based St David’s Hospice Care intend buying the building to use as a day hospice with a cafe

The existing self-catering holiday accommodation on the first floor of the building, described as a coaching inn of traditional design and construction, would be retained and continue to oprate.

Before the pub, on the B4598 Abergavenny to Raglan road, was bought by Mr Terry and his wife, it was known as the Horse and Jockey. 

Over 18 years it became recognised as one of Wales’ best restaurants, winning multiple awards, including a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide, being named best restaurant in Wales in consecutive years, and ranked 19th best gastropub in the coveted Estrella Damm 50 Best Gastropubs list in 2020. 

Mr Terry, who trained under Marco Pierre White, also catered for world leaders, including then US president Barack Obama, at the Nato summit banquet in 2014.

But he revealed last year that the business had struggled financially after former financial administrator Nicola Nightingale had swindled thousands from it. 

She admitted fraud while her husband, Simon Nightingale, was found guilty of possessing criminal property, the cash transferred to him by his wife, in 2023. 

Both were handed suspended prison sentences, a decision slammed by Mr Terry who said at the time: “For them to result in getting a suspended sentence is a travesty. What kind of message does that send out? It’s a joke, an absolute joke. 

“This should be a lesson for all people not to trust, do your research, get references and be aware of how your business is being run. We trusted her and unfortunately, she didn’t fulfil her job title.” 

Shortly after the closure of the Hardwick, the father-of-three also revealed he had split with his wife to set up home in Abergavenny with wine expert Jo Browning, 24 years his junior.

“I regret the pain it’s caused my family and I will for the rest of my life. But you’ve only got one life. I’m supporting my wife the best I can. I don’t want this to be messy,” he said.

St David’s Hospice Care has applied to Monmouthshire planners for a change of use covering what was the restaurant, so it can be used as a hospice day centre, which is a non-residential institution, and the kitchen will be shared between it and the cafe it plans to open. 

Nine jobs will be created with six working in the day centre and three in the cafe which, according to the application, will “be community-focused and aimed to be used by local residents who will drop off the relatives in need of the day care service”. 

No change of use is required for the self-catering accommodation, as permission is already in place, and the building would operate during normal business hours Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Air BnB would be open for key collection during the day time hours.