Ernst van Zyl to crowdfund Urtica restaurant

Chef Ernst van Zyl is crowdfunding £100,000 to open Urtica, a modern British restaurant.

Van Zyl does not have a property for the restaurant yet, however he told The Catererhe is looking in the South Manchester and Cheshire areas.

All money will go towards the property, from securing the site to refurbishments, building works, furnishings and a kitchen to create “a beautiful, relaxed dining space that will cater for all taste buds”.

He said: “Every pound donated will be invested into transforming an empty space into a restaurant that will be an exciting, educational, fun, challenging and an enjoyable experience.”

Van Zyl chose the name Urtica, the scientific name for the nettle, due to his love of foraging. “It’s such a classic British foraged staple and a name that’s connected to the British countryside,” he said.

At the time of going to press, £555 has been raised. See the crowdfunding page here.

Van Zyl was due to head the food offering at Signature Living’s Cunard House venture in Liverpool as executive chef, however three months after the announcement it transpired his three-month contract with the company had expired and was not going to be renewed.

Originally from South Africa, Van Zyl came to the UK in October 1998 to join the Hilton Group in Manchester, and later became senior banqueting chef at the London Hilton Park Lane hotel. He was also chef-patron at the Lord Clyde in Kerridge just outside Macclesfield, where he achieved three AA rosettes, and chef-patron of the Hanging Gate Inn in Cheshire.

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