Matt Gillan's new restaurant Heritage exceeds Kickstarter target by nearly £30,000

The  Staff Canteen

Great British Menu winner Matt Gillan has successfully raised over £89,000 through crowdfunding to launch his own restaurant 'Heritage', at the Chequers Inn, near Horsham in Sussex.

The Kickstarter had the original target of £60k, and the project achieved this in just six days. A month later, Matt has exceeded this target by nearly £30, 000, to restore the former fish-focused business, which has been closed for the past two years. Former owners failed to keep the business afloat, and the situation was worsened when access roads from the A23 were changed.

He explained: “You used to be able to come straight off and within a minute you’d be at the Chequers, so people would drop off, stop off, eat and then get back on, whereas now you have to go through the next village along, so it takes about 15 minutes.”

But, he said, “whereas that’s a negative for that business, for me, it’s quite positive, it’s almost like it’s part of the journey to the destination, it makes it special."

“It’s a bit like going to L’Enclume; it isn’t the easiest place to get to, but it’s kind of special once you get there." 

In a post on the chef's Instagram account, he gave a quick tour of the current site, explaining that Heritage will be partitioned into at least four areas, including a casual pub area, a separate lounge area, a breakfast room and the restaurant. 

View this post on Instagram

A super quick tour of the inside.

A post shared by Matt Gillan (@mattgillan_chef_) on

 The property also has five bedrooms and a garden which can seat 40 people and offers a view of the surrounding countryside.

The chef insisted that because of its location, the venue would have to do more than 'just good pub food.'  Instead, he said, it will serve high-end food at accessible prices.

The food offering will include a set lunch menu, an a la carte menu and the chef's signature tasting menu, featuring local, seasonal ingredients, and the drinks selection will favour local producers, but others, including bespoke items, will be available.

He explained: "I very much want it to be about just going back to good old hospitality and everyone that comes in is just made to feel special, whether they’re coming in for a pint of the local ale or coming in for a celebratory dinner."

"I just want it to be the kind of place where you can come in and just switch off, and we’ll do everything. It’s something that - certainly not at the high end it’s not missing but just where the targets are all financial - there just seems to be missing, that personality and that hospitality, and that’s kind of what I love about what I do.”

"I’m really excited at the prospect of doing something big like that, it is going to be hard work and it’s going to take a lot of focus and quite a few dedicated people alongside me to make it happen but I do believe it could be truly stunning." 

Matt launched his Kickstarter campaign on Friday, February 8 and beat his goal in less than a week - reaching  more than £63,000 on the sixth day of his appeal. As of the project closing on Sunday, March 10, the total stood at £89,007 from 640 backers.

Matt wrote on his Instagram: "I can’t thank everyone that has supported this project enough. Whether pledging, sharing, info on the site, advice on the kickstarter or just getting in touch. You’ve all made this happen!! You guys smashed it!!!"

Rewards for the biggest contributors included vouchers, tickets to attend the restaurant's pre-launch event,  his 'Herder' book from Great British Menu, and a dinner cooked at home by the chef owner.

Though still at its initial structural survey stage, the chef is hoping to launch the new venture in May.

By Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th March 2019

Matt Gillan's new restaurant Heritage exceeds Kickstarter target by nearly £30,000