Nicola and Tom Nickerson, the mother and son team who were among the contenders in Raymond Blanc's reality programme The Restaurant, have signed a three-year tenancy with pub operator Charles Wells.
The pair have taken over the Boot in Langford, Bedfordshire, to run it as a traditional, food-led British pub after a soft opening last month ahead of the Christmas period.
Tom Nickerson said: "Our goal is to make it the best dining experience in the area over a 10-mile radius and that's not an easy task. We want to do restaurant quality food at reasonably competitive pub prices in a relaxed atmosphere for dining and drinking."
The former Old English Inns hotel manager took the 50-cover pub through the Charles Wells Retail Induction Support Programme (CRISP) designed to train licensees from outside the pub trade. The scheme won the British Institute of Innkeeping NITA award for best licensee induction programme in non-managed estates earlier this month.
"They are a very amiable company and they have been all the way through the recruitment process as we have come into the business," said Tom. "We went through the CRISP course and it has certainly introduced us to the pub trade in the right way. I was approached by other operators but the Charles Wells programme would be an asset to anybody."
Meanwhile, Charles Wells Pub Company bought its 13th site of the year after snapping up the Dog & Badger in Maulden, Bedfordshire, for an undisclosed fee.
Raymond Blanc goes into business with The Restaurant winners >>By Christopher Walton