Chef and restaurateur Gary Usher has achieved his goal of raising £200,000 to open a new restaurant in Liverpool in September 2017.
The fundraising project, which launched on 2 May, has had over 1,450 backers and raised £204,760 – the largest amount raised in the UK by Kickstarter for a restaurant. The target was reached two days ahead of the fundraising end date.
Over the 28 day period, leading chefs, including Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Daniel Clifford, Simon Rimmer and Michael O’Hare, among others have clubbed together to help Usher achieve his target.
Rewards included: a day behind the scenes at Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch (in exchange for a £2,000 donation); a guest chef evening at Wreckfish with the two-Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge (£300 for two tickets); a BBQ at Burnt Truffle with Daniel Clifford, Tim Allen, Mark Poynton, Matt Gillan, Russell Bateman and Mark Abbott (£130 for two tickets); and a gourmet curry night with Farokh Talati (£2,000 for up to 40 people).
The money raised will go toward the refurbishment and launch of the 90-cover restaurant, in a derelict 19th Century watchmakers building on the corner of Slater and Seel Street.
Usher, who won the 2013 Menu of the Year Catey award, thanked his backers on Kickstarter. He said: “Well, what can I say… This is the most special thing I’ve ever been a part of. From a pop up in a derelict building that definitely shouldn’t have worked, to raising over £200k in 28 days, it’s been an absolutely mental few months.
“It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t down to the relentless support I’ve received from all of 1,466 of you, friends, family, suppliers, landlords and an incredible amount of chefs offering to cook with me for free, just to see Wreckfish happen. It’s honestly unbelievable. However, it’s never just been about the money. Most of all I want to thank the people who have constantly given me support the whole way through the pop up and campaign. It’s your ridiculously nice messages that have got me through and made this happen. For that, I can’t thank you enough.
“So, whatever happens now, Liverpool we’ll see you in September.”
Wreckfish, named after a type of fish that lives at the bottom of the sea, will be Usher’s fourth restaurant. It comes six years after the launch of Sticky Walnut in Chester, two years after Burnt Truffle in Heswall on the Wirral and only eight months after Hispi launched in Didsbury, Greater Manchester.
The menu at Wreckfish will include signature dishes such as chicken liver pâté and braised featherblade, truffle and Parmesan chips.
It will also be the first restaurant to serve brunch, from 10am at the weekend.
Before he reached his target, Usher said: “It’s always been our hope to bring humble, honest food to neighbourhoods throughout the region. It’s what we did with Sticky and it’s what works so well for us. Liverpool holds a special place in my heart, having worked just down the street from where Wreckfish is now.
“Opening in a city centre is something new for us, but with the community spirit and neighbourhood feel that Liverpool has, as well as the rise in demand for new restaurants in the area, we know Wreckfish will fit right in. There has already amazing support from suppliers and customers, new and old. Now I just now can’t wait to open.”
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