Paul Foster, who confirmed last week that he was to step down as head chef at the three-red-AA-star Mallory Court in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, has announced that he is to crowdfund in order to launch his own restaurant in Warwickshire.
Foster, who joined Mallory Court two years ago from Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket in Suffolk, is looking to raise £100,000 to fund Salt, a fine-dining restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.
Writing on kickstarter.com, where he has launched his crowdfunding project, he said: "My career has been underpinned by commitment and hard work, which has taken me to some of the best restaurants in the world. As a result of my passion and drive I have had two very successful head chef roles over the past six years. It's always been my goal to have my own restaurant and it is now the time I believe I can achieve that. I didn't want to try it too soon when I didn't have enough experience or knowledge and I don't want to leave it too late and miss out on a great opportunity.
"My food is modern British fine dining and when I eat out I like to feel comfortable and relaxed. This is what I want my restaurant to offer an amazing standard of food and service in a place where you feel welcome. The restaurant will be based in south Warwickshire, it will be modern, serving high-quality food and offering a relaxed, friendly environment."
In order to achieve funding, Foster has offered a range of ‘rewards' for bidders including vouchers for the restaurant, masterclasses and private dinners. Once the funding is in place, he and his wife Rhiain, a co-director in the project, hope to secure the lease on premises, cover business administration, branding, recruitment and refurbishment fees, as well as the costs for initial stock and soft and official openings.
He said: "I think the restaurant will be a great success for a number of reasons but the biggest advantage I have is the partnership with my wife, Rhiain. The combination of our skills and experience should make us formidable business partners.
"I have a natural passion for food, and working as a head chef I have had the opportunity to learn about the business side of running a restaurant. Meanwhile, Rhiain has been in HR for the past eight years and is responsible for coaching line managers on how to manage and get the best out of their employees. Rhiain has a strong academic background in business management and she will take responsibility for administration of the business."
On confirming his decision to leave Mallory Court last week, Foster told The Caterer: "Mallory Court has been an amazing experience for me, but I feel the time is right for me to pursue my own restaurant. I know that that comes with risks, but I am determined to achieve my goals. I am sure that Mallory will appoint a great successor and will keep moving forward, especially with the addition of its new spa. I wish the team the very best of luck."
Foster won an Acorn Award in 2011 and was named Observer Food Monthly Young Chef of the Year the same year. Prior to joining Tuddenham Mill, he worked at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, and Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, and staged at WD50 in New York, the French Laundry in Napa Valley and Auberge de l'ole in Lyon.
Speaking on social media over the weekend, Foster said he had been inspired by Catey Award winner Gary Usher of Sticky Walnut in Chester to crowdfund for Salt. Usher raised over £100,000 for his second business, Burnt Truffle, in 2014.