MASTERCHEF contestant Jay Tinker will open a new restaurant in Aughton after taking over the Bellagio on Springfield Road.
Tinkers of Aughton will open its doors to customers in three weeks time, with Jay promising a new menu brimming with locally-sourced produce.
The 120-seater venue, which will cater for parties, will be the Manchester-born chef’s second eaterie in the area – after setting up his first restaurant in Southport’s Lord Street earlier this year.
Jay, who lives in Banks, said: “The Bellagio is a beautiful building, I don’t have to do a lot to it but I do want to put my stamp on it.
“I like Aughton, it’s a lovely place. I love Tinker’s in Southport but I’ve been there six months now and I want to branch out.”
A post from the previous owner on the Bellagio’s website confirmed the deal.
It read: “After seven years at the Bellagio, with many enjoyable and memorable nights, with thousands of diners, it is with great regret that I must announce this weekend is my last weekend as the owner, the Bellagio has been sold and will be under new management and ownership from Monday September 10.”
Father-of-three Jay wowed Masterchef hosts John Torode and Gregg Wallace in this year’s show, making it through to the final four of the competition that was eventually won by Shelina Permalloo. He went on to open his first restaurant with business partner Michael Oliver in Southport’s Lord Street in April.
And he is now planning to introduce his template of “comfort food cooked with elegance” that has become his trademark to West Lancashire. But he is also keen for his new venture to have its own identity.
He said: “I’m looking at farms around the area now. I’m building the menu as we speak. There will be similarities – it will still be my style of cooking – but there will be differences too, such as having less fish on the menu than Southport.”
Jay, who will run the kitchen himself initially before training up a head chef to take over the reins, also spoke of his desire to appeal to discerning foodies from further afield.
He said: “I’m hoping to bring the Liverpool crowd up. I’m right on the doorstep here. “Aughton is a really good location.”
While Jay will be concentrating on his two restaurants for the time being, he is not ruling out expanding further.
He said: “I’ve got a pal in Marbella who has asked if I want to go in with him. But I want to get this one going first and then after Christmas will look at maybe doing that, or something else.”