Former MasterChef: the Professionals finalist Dave Coulson has teamed up with a North East restaurant business to secure £250,000 for a new Newcastle venture.
Coulson, who made it to the last three alongside winner Claire Lara in the 2010 run of the popular BBC series, will open Peace & Loaf with business manager and fellow director Geeta Ral next month.
Located in Jesmond, Peace & Loaf will be run in collaboration with Ral's sister and brother-in-law Bob and Neeta Arora, owners of Sachins restaurant in Newcastle, reported www.thejournal.co.uk.
Serving a menu of "raw and simple British fayre with new ideas", the three floor restaurant is forecasted to turn over £520,000 in its first year.
If targets are met, there are plans expand into a larger site, with a longer term ambition to roll out the concept into new sites.
Ral, director and business manager, said: "The restaurant only has 56 seats so we hope it will be busy, and should it take off we definitely plan to expand, either into a larger restaurant or possibly by rolling it out.
"We're currently recruiting for the best possible team to ensure each visit to our restaurant is memorable for all the right reasons. We're hiring three chefs, 10 front of house staff and offering three apprenticeships to catering students from Gateshead College. It's a really exciting time.''
Coulson said: "There's a lot of pressure on youngsters to perform well in exams, I don't have any formal qualifications, I've just been fortunate to gain invaluable experience.
"It is with that we decided we'd take on apprentices in the restaurant, being able to share my knowledge and vibrant career history with young chefs is a dream come true."
The Peace & Load restaurant concept was born Coulson and Bob Arora met during a cooking demonstration.