25th Mar, 2017

Online funds help chef to open eaterie

Laura Kearns 20th Mar, 2017

AN AWARD-winning chef has received some £100,000 in donations to open his own restaurant in Stratford.

Paul Foster has appeared on the likes of Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu and until recently was the former head chef at Mallory Court.

But the dad-of-two from Kenilworth decided to go it alone and started a campaign to raise money to open his own restaurant in Stratford.

Within a month he had raised £100,000 on a crowd funding website, where people receive a gift – such as a box of cakes or a meal at the restaurant when it opens – in return for a donation.

Paul – who learnt how to cook at Henley College – told the Observer: “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.

“Crowd funding was a risk we decided to take to achieve my dream. I left my job and put my reputation on the line for it. We set a target of £100,000 in 30 days so it was all or nothing. Thankfully we achieved our goal and set about finding a property.”

Paul is set to open ‘Salt’ in Church Street later this month.

He will be head chef of the establishment, with wife Rhiain taking on the responsibility of running the business operations and Paul’s sous chef of three years, Liam Davies at his side.

Paul first learnt his skill in the Coventry pubs ran by his parents – The Painted Lady, The Earlsdon Cottage and Churchills. His mother would help him bake cakes which he then sold to the pub’s bouncers.

After college he began work at the former Haigs Hotel and then travelled the world working in restaurants from France to California.

But he is hoping his own offering will reflect the British style he loves, with a seasonal menu and even ingredients he has foraged locally.

He said: “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 people feel welcome.

“I’ve always wanted my own restaurant where I can have total freedom to create top quality food and serve it in a relaxed environment.”