Presented by First Dates’ beloved maître d’ Fred Sirieix, BBC2’s new show Million Pound Menu blends business and food, as budding restauranteurs bid for investment for their madcap and occasionally brilliant ideas.
So who do they need to impress? A series of high-profile investors from the restaurant world, all looking to back Britain’s next big restaurant brand.
Read on to meet the investors in Million Pound Menu.
Who is Atul Kochhar and what is he famous for?
Kochhar became the first ever Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star in the UK. He owns Benares, a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in Mayfair, in addition to a portfolio of seven other restaurants, and six more on-board P&O cruisers, worth in total an estimated £13m-£15m.
Who is Scott Collins and what is he famous for?
Social media: @thepubgeek
Collins lived in both Los Angeles and France, working in restaurants and bars before he bought his first pub, The Castle in Camberwell. After meeting business partner Yianni Papoutsis in 2010, the pair set up MEATliquor, a pop-up burger diner and bar which now boasts a group of 11 restaurants.
Who is Lydia Forte and what is she famous for?
Social media: @lavitaforte
Forte is Group Director of Food & Beverage at the Rocco Forte hotel group, and is the older daughter of founder Sir Rocco Forte. She works frequently with Michelin-starred chefs, and is looking for new concepts to invest in.
Who is David Page and what is he famous for?
Veteran restaurateur David Page owns the pizza chain Franco Manca through his restaurant investment vehicle Fulham Shore. He’s also the man behind British high street staples Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek.
Who is Darrel Connell and what is he famous for?
Connell is a partner with Imbiba Partnership, an investment group that specialises in backing and growing high-end bar and restaurant concepts. His focus is sourcing new investment opportunities for Imbiba and deal execution.
Who is Jeremy Roberts and what is he famous for?
Darrel Connell, Lydia Forte, Joseph Earnshaw, Simon Wheeler and Jeremy Roberts (BBC)
Social media: @LivingVentures
Roberts, alongside business partner Tim Bacon, is a co-founder of Living Ventures, a northern-based restaurant and bar group with an estimated annual turnover of over £100 million.
Who is Tim Gee and what is he famous for?
Social media: @AlliedLondon
Gee has over ten years of experience in the property sector, both in the UK and overseas. He’s a Property Director with Allied London, an award-winning property development and investment company, and has been tasked with finding new restaurant concepts for the company’s estates in Manchester.
Who is Chris Miller and what is he famous for?
Former Soho House Group commercial director Chris Miller launched an investment service called White Rabbit Fund back in 2016. Since then he’s gone on to invest in in Indian tapas concept Kricket; Hawaiian grab-and-go concept Island Poké; and Italian heritage brand Lina Stores.
Who is Jamie Barber and what is he famous for?
Social media: @jamieb1
Barber is the CEO of famed Hush restaurant in Mayfair, London, and the Cabana Brasilian Barbecue group. He’s also co-CEO of Haché Burger Connoisseurs. Over the years he’s operated various restaurant brands in the UK, including Kitchen Italia, Villandry and Sake No Hana.
Who is Shruti Ajitsaria and what is she famous for?
Ajitsaria is an Angel Investor who manages a portfolio of investments, and previously invested in JKS restaurants (Gymkhana, Hoppers) when they first launched. She’s looking to invest in a range of ideas from food and craft beer.
This article was originally published in May 2018