Apprentice contestant and Irish Master Chef winner open Japanese bar and restaurant in Liverpool with backing from MSIF

Izakaya offers Japanese-inspired cuisine including sushi, oysters, tempura and katsu to eat in or take away. Andrew Wright reports.

A former contestant from The Apprentice and previous winner of Head Chef, the Irish version of Master Chef, have launched a joint eatery and cocktail venue on Liverpool’s Castle Street, with backing from business funding provider MSIF.

The business, which currently employs 14 staff, has been set up by directors Kurt Wilson and Harry Marquart.

Chef Marquart previously worked at Michelin starred restaurants Pollen Street Social in London and the Chester Grosvenor and has also worked at the London Carriage Works restaurant in Liverpool.

Kurt Wilson previously featured in the 2013 version of BBC show, The Apprentice.

MSIF has provided a £50,000 investment towards the total project cost of around £85,000, with the directors funding the remainder.

Director Kurt Wilson said: “The area around Castle Street is booming with lots of independent bars and restaurants nestled in amongst the big names.

“We offer express lunches and take away to cater for the midweek business crowd but in the evening it’s much more about going out for a few drinks with some delicious food on the side.

“There are no other casual Japanese dining options in the city so we’re launching something completely different.  Harry is a fantastic chef with lots of experience and specialist expertise in preparing and cooking fish having worked at an award winning fish restaurant in his native Ireland.

“MSIF have been amazing.  I’ve raised business funding before which was a difficult and lengthy process but with MSIF it was completely different.  They helped us step by step through the funding process which made it a stress-free experience.”

MSIF investment manager Andy Jones said:  “Despite being young, Kurt and Harry are very experienced and have an impressive track record within this industry. I’m really pleased to be supporting the business and wish them every success.”

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