Will Beckett, the co-founder and chief executive of Hawksmoor Group, has become non-executive chairman of Rockfish, the restaurant group founded and run by restaurateurs Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse.

Beckett was part of a private group who supported the South West-based business in a fundraise in 2014 alongside other food and restaurant industry leaders John Barnes, Steve Leadbeater (CFO at Two Sisters group) & Henry Dimbleby (Leon, Street Feast/London Union).

The investor group also included the food critic Giles Coren. Jonathan Dimbleby and Alexander Armstrong as well as the previous senior management team of Young’s seafood are also investors.

Beckett said: “Having turned down similar opportunities in the past, I leapt at this one because I believe so strongly in the future of this company and the vision Mitch and his team have for Rockfish. I’d like to think I can help, but I can definitely also learn from what they’re doing. I’m really interested in restaurant companies trying to do integrity at scale, and I am really excited about being part of Rockfish doing just that.”

Sales at Rockfish are expected to reach £6m this financial year, with a new opening in Exmouth in December this year and two further locations in the pipeline for late 2017 and early 2018.

The first Rockfish opened in Dartmouth in 2010 and the business has grown to five locations on the South Coast over the last five years, and with locations at Brixham and Plymouth fish markets it has restaurants “closer to the source than any other in the UK”.

The company said that Beckett’s appointment is the latest in the “assembly of a highly capable management team to execute the future expansion and Tonks’s vision to create a leading seafood restaurant brand founded on integrity of supply”, including Ed Fevyer (ex-Jamie’s Italian) as operations director.

The business is targeting locations that are on the South Coast where Tonks firmly believes the best fish in the world is landed: “for me there is nothing better than enjoying a plate of simply cooked seafood, overlooking the water it came from. We have the best seafood here in the UK and Rockfish is all about that.”