Masterchef winner Mat Follas is to realise his dream of opening his own restaurant after securing the lease of a former bistro in Dorset.
Follas, an IT engineer from New Zealand, plans to open the 34-cover restaurant in the former Black Cat Bistro in Beaminster (pictured, right) in June under the name The Wild Garlic.
Speaking to BigHospitality after his win in February, Follas said he would be giving up the prize of an apprenticeship in a top restaurant to open his own venture.
“As much as I would love to do an apprenticeship, I can’t afford to go down to that income level as I’ve got a wife, kids and a mortgage,” Follas said. “So the way that we intend to do it is to look for investment to buy a restaurant, and hire a professional chef who wants to take the next step and work beside me and train me, so probably someone whose worked for the bigger names already.”
Follas, who enlisted the help of property agents Christie & Co to secure the sale said he was `delighted` to find a restaurant in his own town.
The Wild Garlic will serve locally sourced food, where possible, and the menu will feature dishes he made on the Masterchef programme.
Keith Goodwin of Christie & Co said: "Mat beat off some strong competition to acquire the business and we wish him well with his new venture.”