The chef, who won a Michelin star while cooking at The Pass in Horsham, is looking to raise £60,000 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to renovate and reopen the Edwardian countryside pub as a restaurant with rooms called Heritage.
Gillan describes the pub, which has been closed for two years, as “a shell needing soul” but also as a property having “a beautiful view and heaps of potential”, saying that he immediately fell in love with it.
Writing on his Kickstarter page he says: “Most young chefs dream of having their own restaurant - I am one of those chefs (although not so young anymore). Over the years my vision has evolved, but my principles have remained the same. Somewhere where we can create a memorable experience, for each and every guest visiting.”
“It ticked all the boxes, so the first thought was, ‘obviously this is out of reach!’ After a few conversations, emails, spreadsheets (lots and lots of spreadsheets), screwed up bits of paper and ibuprofen, I’m, unbelievably, in a position to take on my dream restaurant.”
The property will feature a large open space dining room and a PDR for up to 16 people as well as more casual dining and bar areas. It will also have five bedrooms.
The restaurant will offer a set lunch menu, a la carte and a signature Heritage tasting menu (the number of courses is yet to be decided) with a small bar menu available in the more casual areas.
Incentives for the crowdfund include a tasting menu dinner for two people for a pledge of £180 or more, a kitchen experience for £250 or more, and an eight-course tasting menu dinner for four people for £320 or more. Investors who pledge £500 or more will receive a dinner, bed and breakfast package for two.
The crowdfund campaign will run for a month and Gillan appears to be anticipating a quick turnaround, with the estimated delivery of the meals set for July and the stay-overs for September. “The building is actually in very good shape. It just needs a few finishing touches to bring it back to life,” he writes.
Gillan’s CV includes time in top kitchens including Midsummer House, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and The Vineyard at Stockcross. He represented London/South East twice on Great British Menu, making it through to the banquet, and won a Michelin star when he was head chef at The Pass in Horsham.
In 2016 he left The Pass to open cafe-by-day, restaurant-by-night Red Roaster and Pike & Pine in Brighton. The following year he launched a crowdfunding bid for £80,000 to help fund the second phase of work on the project.