Chef Ernst van Zyl has launched a £100,000 crowdfund campaign to open a modern British restaurant called Urtica.
The chef, who was due to head up the kitchen at Cunard House but was ‘let go’ before its launch, has chosen JustGiving as the platform to raise the money- a website more usually for charity fundraisers.
The chef’s campaign asks for donations of £2, and asks backers to spread the word to their friends and family.
“There’s always £2 going spare, and when there’s 50,000 £2s donated it means we‘ve reached our target.”
At present, the chef has raised £582 from 40 supporters.
The money raised will be used to secure a site, carry out necessary building works, and add furnishings and a kitchen to create “a beautiful, relaxed dining space that will cater for all taste buds”.
“Every pound donated will be invested into transforming an empty space into a restaurant that will be an exciting, educational, fun, challenging and an enjoyable experience,” says the chef.
Although he has not yet confirmed a site, van Zyl is looking at sites in the Cheshire and Manchester area, having already viewed two 40-cover locations in Greater Manchester.
“It’s such a big thing turning to strangers asking for money to fund a restaurant to then be told what you’re doing- asking for just £2 to achieve £100k has never been done before; it’s impossible & will never work,” the chef wrote on Twitter.
“Such a confidence booster knowing I’ve done the right thing.”
South African-born Van Zyl started his UK career in 1998 with the Hilton Group in Manchester, before taking a role as senior banqueting chef at the London Hilton Park Lane hotel.
He was also chef-patron at the Lord Clyde in Kerridge just outside Macclesfield, where he achieved three AA rosettes, and chef-patron of the Hanging Gate Inn in Cheshire.