Chefs Joe Allen and Aaron Thomas, contestants on BBC Two's My Million Pound Menu, have opened a three-month restaurant residency named KityCow at Jamie Barber's Hush restaurant in Mayfair, London.
The pair, who both trained at Westminster Kingsway College, London, appeared on the show on 15 January with their pop-up restaurant concept XXVI and were subsequently invited to meet with restaurateur and mentor Barber. "We thought Jamie was going to give us some feedback, but instead he offered us space at his restaurant for a three-month residency," said Allen.
Barber told The Caterer that he'd decided to take on a mentorship role on the show because "he found the young excitement for food on the programme quite thrilling."
"Although Joe and Aaron didn't get through on the show, they stayed in touch with me. They were tenacious and persevered, and when I got an invite to attend one of their pop-ups post-filming in late 2018, I witnessed them create a high-calibre menu where they both came out of their shells," said Barber.
"They both showed real personality. So although they both still have some learning to do in terms of running a business, I offered them the residency at Hush as continued support."
During the show one of the biggest points of feedback for the friends was the difficulty surrounding the name, so Allen and Thomas came up with KityCow, which is a traditional robe worn by Sherpas in Nepal.
Chef Atul Kochhar, another mentor on the show, commented: "When Joe and Aaron appeared on My Million Pound Menu under XXVI, I could see they were great chefs. Their food was delicious and I saw huge potential in them. Jamie offered them a residency at his Mayfair stalwart Hush and the duo have also benefited from my mentorship and development of a menu true to their style."
Dishes on the menu include: Nimki crackers with coriander yogurt, pan puri, Momo of salsify, tropea onion and truffle; roasted skate, Himalayan herbs and crushed turnips; and Pakku pork chop, Hispi cabbage and fennel bhaji.
The space KityCow now occupies was previously known as Blades, with the room itself undergoing a huge transformation involving the removal of white tablecloths and a new design to work alongside a sharing concept. The kitchen has also been refurbished.
The KityCow residency opened on 1 February and will be serving Nepalese cuisine with a British fusion twist until the end of April.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).