Culinary entrepreneur Tarek Thoma, who once famously cooked for President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, has made key appointments at his £500,000 restaurant in Middlesbrough.
This comes as the finishing touches are being put to the Linthorpe Road restaurant, which will open at 5pm on Saturday October 31.
Nick Courtney, who has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, has been appointed general manager.
His career has included four years as second chef at the two-star Michelin Crab and Lobster at Bembridge on the Isle of White.
He also has worked as a general manager at a number of leading businesses including the Seafood Pub Company, a multi-award winning group of gastro-pubs.
Restaurant consultant and chef Gus Rowcroft also is on board and will be overseeing Oven’s kitchen operations and training.
He has in-depth knowledge of the restaurant sector and staff development having worked with Terry Laybourne at Bistro 21 in Durham, owned his own culinary businesses and taught catering at Middlesbrough College.
Oven, which will have a menu focusing on English, French, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, will employ 45 staff and cater for up to 160 customers.
Tarek, who also has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants including the L’Escargot in London and Chapter One in Kent, said: “We are recruiting high calibre people, who have proven track records and are experts in their field
“It is important to hand-pick quality employees and advisers as the emphasis at Oven will be providing a second-to-none service and offering Michelin star-style food at very affordable prices.”
Tarek added: “Oven and its staff will take great pride in preparing homemade dishes, from fresh local produce sourced on a daily basis, with passion and flair.”
Central Point, where Oven is located, has been developed by regeneration entrepreneur Geoff Hogg, owner of Linthorpe Developments, who is so impressed with Tarek’s concept for Oven that he has invested in the business.
Mr Hogg said: “Oven will bring something new and vibrant to the foodie scene in Middlesbrough and it is very exciting now that we are putting the finishing touches to the restaurant.”
Mr Hogg has more than 20 years’ experience in the property sector and during this time, he has amassed a strong mixed portfolio of retail, office and residential schemes, totalling an investment of £15m, across the North East.