Whittlesey chef Chris Newman is busily preparing to achieve a dream - and open his own restaurant.
And in a nod to his French cooking background - and his name - the new venture in Whittlesey Market Place will be called “Homme Noveau”.
Chris doesn’t actually get the keys until November 1st (he is taking over the lease of established bar Hub’s Place) and will open two weeks later, after a couple of trial runs for friends and family and business contacts.
But he has spent the last month juggling his current job - head chef at the Sibson Inn Hotel - with menu development... and taking a growing number of bookings.
The 34-year-old, who started his career as a 17-year-old working at the Bow Window in Ramsey - back then a byword for fine dining in the area but now sadly closed - said he was looking forward to getting started on the new chapter in his career.
“I have always dreamed of being a chef/owner, with my own place, and this year I thought I would go for it,” said Chris, who inbetween two spells at the Sibson Inn was head chef at Peterborough city centre’s Bull Hotel and has also had a spell in the kitchens at the Windmill at Orton Waterville.
“I have done everything that I wanted to do and this is the next step.
“I filled out my business loan application but did nothing else with it until I found somewhere. Then a friend told me Hub’s Place might be coming available so I got in touch - and it is happening.”
The restaurant will accommodate 45 covers - maybe 60 if he turns tables - and since he announced his intentions on social media the response, he says, has been ridiculous with diners keen to sample his dishes.
He will use local ingredients where possible and everything will be made in-house, he says.
“It will be fine dining, three-course a la carte menus and the food will be to AA Rosette standard as that is what I am used to.
“My aim is to have a Rosette within 18 months.”