After another beautifully delivered 5-minute pitch by Chef Andy Bates (this time, accompanied with a PowerPoint presentation made by yours truly) and a tasting of his scotch egg, pie & mash and custard tart, followed by the same for 5 other contestants, the judges decided it was The Avenue they wanted closer to home.
I am still in shock, quite honestly. This whole contest has been such a fun project and career adventure for me that it could have ended at the cook-off and I would still have been so proud of what we accomplished... but now we've won ourselves a restaurant.
I can't really find the words to describe what it felt like. To say it was the proudest moment of my career just starts to paint the picture. I am so grateful for everyone who contributed and supported us and for the judges who had faith in a little idea going a long way.
This all happened last night and we had our first meeting with the Arts & Entertainment District developers - NRInvestments - this morning. Walking the space we've been given a free year of rent in and imagining where the kitchen, bar and tables will go was pretty surreal. I still can't believe it... talk about bringing an idea to life.
- Idea Garden President & Creative Director, Vivian Belzaguy