TV chef Alex Rushmer tells us about his plans to open restaurant with Lawrence Butler in Cambridge
They reveal plans for Vanderlyle restauant in Mill Road
Two top chefs are to launch a new restaurant in Cambridge.
Alex Rushmer and Lawrence Butler will open Vanderlyle on Mill Road in the spring of next year — promising seasonal food with an emphasis on a relaxed atmosphere and local produce.
The pair were previously involved in the highly-respected Hole in the Wall before Mr Rushmer decided to close it in June last year.
Mr Rushmer found fame on the small screen when he appeared on the BBC’s flagship cookery show Masterchef – reaching the final and finishing the competition placed as a runner-up. In addition to wowing judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode, he cooked for some of the greatest chefs in the world and even Indian royalty during one of the challenges set in Rajasthan.
The Hole in the Wall was a venue he inherited, but Vanderlyle, a nod to a song title from indie band The National, will provide him with a chance to stamp his own culinary identity on a completely new venture. The new restaurant will also see the former Barney’s clothing store brought back into use.
“We are very happy to reveal there is a new restaurant opening on Mill Road in the spring of next year,” said Mr Rushmer.
“It will seat around 25 and the food will be delicious. Lawrence and I have worked together for five years and when the Hole in the Wall closed we went our separate ways and spent some time out of the kitchen. But we always knew we wanted to work together on something like this.
“We are working very closely with farmers and local suppliers and it will be very much flavour driven, with the two of us working in the kitchen.
“Closing the Hole in the Wall was a thought out decision. I decided the level of work I was doing, 80-85 hours a week, was not sustainable. I knew I could not do that for another three years. The new project gives us space to be more creative. We will be open four days a week and we will build in a sustainable lifestyle which is very important.
“The name will be Vanderlyle. We were looking at song titles and one of my favourite bands is The National and the name comes from the title of one of their songs. They have given their blessing. Mill Road was always top of the list for its energy and independence.”
He added: “I have never focused on TV – I want my cooking to speak for me. Going back every year and being a judge for Masterchef helps but I’ve always seen my place as being in the kitchen.”
For partner Mr Butler, who quit a role selling insurance to become a chef, the pair make the perfect combination.
“We will have a completely open kitchen. It is going to be exciting to engage with the diners,” said Mr Butler. “I love food and think about it most of the time every day. I was never happy working in an office. The first job I had in cooking was with Alex at the Hole in the Wall.
“We both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”