Essex chefs launch crowdfunding campaign to open first restaurant Grain

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Colchester chefs crowdfunding open high-end restaurant Grain
Two Essex chefs have launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring high-end dining to Colchester with an affordable price tag.

Paul Wendholt and business partner Jordan Sidwell (Sid) are hoping to raise £10,000 by 6 June​ to open their first restaurant Grain.

Inspired by Michelin-style tasting menus, the 35-cover site will serve a selection of small Modern British plates, all priced as Starters.

However, despite Grain’s ‘pretentious one word name’ the duo want the restaurant to be accessible to all.

“The price tag for this style of dining can be quite high, and we want to try and keep it in the budget for as many people as possible,” said Wendholt.

“We want to offer high quality food but not scare people off with a pretentious or overly formal service. It’s something that’s been unrepresented in Essex until now.”

Welcoming space

While the pair has already secured a site on a shoestring budget in Colchester town centre, the Kickstarter funding would allow them to open the restaurant as it was originally imagined.

Both are experienced chefs - Wendholt currently works at the luxury Greyfriars Hotel in Colchester, while Sidwell is finishing up a stint as a pastry/commis chef at the five-star Dolder Grand hotel in Switzerland.

The duo are aiming to counter the ‘division’ between front and back-of-house staff, with chefs at Grain bringing the food out to diners and waiting staff helping with kitchen prep where possible.

“We’re really conscious about having one team so everyone understands what goes in to each other’s job,” said Wendholt.

“If there’s friction in the team in a place this size the customer will know, so it’s something we really have to stay on top of.”


Going against the grain

The partners launched the campaign after being inspired by the recent crowdfunding success of chefs such as Gary Usher​ and Paul Foster.

However, Wendholt was hesitant as to whether he would be launching a Kickstarter to open multiple sites any time soon.

“It’s obviously a bit of a pipe dream,” he said. “We're under no illusion that we’re going to have our work cut out just trying to keep this one open through the first few years.

“But we’re really passionate about the concept and we’d love to establish it in other towns around the county and maybe further afield. We think Grain is offering something different and that it should work wherever we open it.”

Grain is set to launch in mid to late June if the Kickstarter campaign is successful.

To view Grain's crowdfunding page click here.

Related topics: People, Restaurants, Venues, Business

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