Lineker, Barlow, Neville, Oldman, Glitter… we all knew that ‘Garys’ can make talented footballers, musicians, actors and nonces but there is another Gary who deserves greater recognition… Usher.
Although not a talented footballer, musician, actor or nonce, Gary Usher has two main skills… firstly, he can cook and secondly, through the power of social media, he can inspire people, not least his own industry.
Starting out with the hugely successful Sticky Walnut (here), Gary went on to use the KickStarter crowdfunding platform to inspire 891 backers to pledge a total of £103,915 to help open Burnt Truffle. Partially funded in a similar way, his third restaurants, Hispi, is set to open in Manchester’s Didsbury this autumn.
Although opening great bistros is “doing good” in my book, with an air of Ty Pennington, Gary recently spearheaded a campaign to help fellow restaurateur Si Toft – whose small, family restaurant, The Dining Room, Abersoch is remain closed whilst he recovers from illness.
Initially hoping to raise £1000 to help out with a few bills, Gary inspired people so much that, at the time of writing, £11,677 has been raised to help pay staff, rents, rates and other costs so Si can take the necessary time to recover properly – it’s not too late to give (here).
Back to the food – Gary trained with some of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, including under Angela Hartnett and at Chez Bruce (here) and he is steadfastly committed to passing on to his skills and work ethic to his young staff.
The ‘Guest Nights’ at Sticky, Burnt and (soon) Hispi, provide a great opportunity for his staff to work alongside top established and young talents – of course, this is also great for the customers!
So far, chefs such as Aaron Mulliss (Hand & Flowers), Ben Spalding, Josh Kitson (64 Degrees) and Dan Dougherty (Duck & waffle) have all participated! (Upcoming nights include Steven Smith and Brandon Baltzley).
As chef/proprietor Cambridge’s Michelin starred Alimentum (here), to date, Mark Poynton is one of the most celebrated chefs to have participated in the Guest Nights.
Here’s what we ate:
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