Chef Gary Usher is to join the Food Entrepreneurship panel at the 2016 NRB Debate at the Northern Restaurant & Bar show, the North's largest hospitality exhibition.
Usher, who is chef-owner of Sticky Walnut in Cheshire, sister sites Burnt Truffle and Hispi Bistro, and 2013 winner of the Menu of the Year Catey, is best known for his successful £100,000 crowdfunding bid to help open his second venture Burnt Truffle, which saw him raise over £24,000 in 24 hours in October 2014.
He will complete the panel event at 12 noon on 16 March at the show, sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University, joining Cynthia Shanmugalingam, chief executive and founder of London food start-up incubator Kitchenette, which provides street food start-ups with access to investors; and John Quilter, broadcaster, chef and founder of fair-trade coffee capsule CRU Kafe.
The NRB Debate is being headlined by food critic and journalist Jay Rayner, who will speak about hospitality trends and issues. Tickets for the event cost £55 per person and include a buffet lunch.
Usher commented: "It's tough trying to launch any restaurant, let alone when you don't have big backers behind you; you have to think creatively. I'd be delighted if recounting my own experiences, both good and bad, helped to inspire other chefs and restaurateurs."
Thom Hetherington, chief executive of the event's organiser Holden Media, said: "Gary will add perfect balance to the discussion. When you talk about ‘food entrepreneurism' people automatically think about street food, pop-ups and small scale artisan production but it's important not to throw the baby out with the bath water. There will always be a place for the classic model of restaurants run by chef-patrons, but Gary goes about it in an incredibly sharp, creative and contemporary way."
Having opened Sticky Walnut to great success in 2011, Usher opened Burnt Truffle in July 2015, and launched his second crowdfunding bid, for £50,000, to help with third site Hispi Bistro in January, which is expected to open in Chorlton, south Manchester, in the summer.