MasterChef finalist launches crowdfund to open restaurant

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Andrew Kojima of MasterChef crowdfunding for Cheltenham restaurant

Related tags Restaurant gordon ramsay Gordon ramsay

MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima has launched a crowdfunding campaign to open his first permanent restaurant.

The chef is aiming to raise £50,000 to launch a casual Japanese restaurant in Cheltenham.

Kojima, who is half-Japanese, worked in banking before making it to the finals of the 2012 series of MasterChef.

After the show he undertook stages at restaurants including Le Gavroche, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and has since run a series of pop-ups across the Cotswolds.

Now the chef has secured a site in Cheltenham, which he is hoping to convert in to a larger restaurant complete with a demonstration kitchen to run Japanese cooking classes.

It is expected to serve popular menu items from his pop-up Koj, such as KFC ‘Koj fried chicken’; grilled sardines with ponzu; and chicken and leek yakitori.

“This [food] is what Japanese people eat at home and when they go out to pubs,” says Kojima.

“Japanese food is still not as big as it could be…now is the time to persuade the UK that it’s not all about sushi.”

The Kickstarter project has until 6 March to raise £50,000, or it will not be funded.

An increasing number of chefs have turned to crowdfunding to open restaurants in the past few years, including Paul Foster, Gary Usher and Matt Gillan.

For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

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