A Michelin-starred restaurant in a 14th Century building has been “reduced to ashes” after its thatched roof caught fire.
Chef Andrew Pern said he was called on Wednesday night and told The Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire, was ablaze.
He said its straw roof was “perfect” fuel for a fire, and the building “didn’t stand a chance” once it had taken hold.
Firefighters remain at the scene.
The building, on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, caught fire shortly after 22:00 GMT.
A message on the restaurant’s Twitter account posted overnight said The Star had been “reduced to ashes” by the flames.
At its height, 45 firefighters tackled the blaze, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said, adding that all occupants had safely left when crews arrived.
Speaking to BBC Radio York, Mr Pern praised quick-thinking staff for their efforts to contain the blaze as they waited for help.
“It was smouldering at first and the staff did a brilliant job, they grabbed all the fire extinguishers, got a hosepipe from the cellar, they did an amazing job themselves,” he said.
“There was nobody in the property, nobody hurt at all.”
Mr Pern, who took ownership of The Star Inn when he was 25, said he expected it would take about a year to get its main dining area up and running again.
The building’s frame had “just about gone”, he said, due to the 4ft (1.2m) straw roof.
“It’s one of those risks that comes with a thatched property, once it took a grip it didn’t really stand a chance,” he said.
He added that a newer section of the pub “should be OK, so we’ll be able to function in a fashion, somehow”.
The Star Inn has become one of the most celebrated gastropubs in the country due to its “modern Yorkshire” dishes made from “locally sourced seasonal ingredients”.
The restaurant is described in the Michelin Guide as “oozing character with its low beamed ceilings”.
“While the restaurant side has a plush, luxurious feel, it’s still very much the village local and you’ll find the regulars supping on a pint of bespoke Two Chefs beer in the characterful bar,” it reads.
Mr Pern, who took charge in 1996, is also the managing director of restaurants in York and Whitby.
Fellow Michelin-starred Chef Tommy Banks, who owns the nearby Black Swan at Oldstead, said news of the fire was “devastating”.
“Our thoughts are with you Andrew and the whole team,” he wrote in a tweet.
The fire service said that by 12:00 GMT crews had finished damping down hot spots.
An aerial ladder platform and one fire engine remain at the scene to help with investigations.
A North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “The fire in the thatched roof of the building caused extensive damage to the roof and roof space.
“Crews worked hard to prevent the fire spreading all along the thatched roof, meaning one end of the roof and the ground floor were saved from the fire.”
Fire investigator Tony Walker tweeted from Harome to announce he had begun to look into the cause of the fire.
North Yorkshire Police said it had been called in to assist with the investigation.
People are still being asked to avoid the area while damping down continues.
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