'Wreckfish Bistro' is a thing. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign Gary Usher will now open a fourth restaurant. I've never been to his other three but have followed 'Sticky' (a lot of Gary's input) on Twitter and suffered the barrage of foul language in order to keep up with the development of a bit of a phenomenon in the present culinary world. Of course, we are familiar with exponents of ripe, destructive verbals in the professional kitchen but, to his credit, Gary appears to use his very free tongue for little else than richly embroidered expressions of excited wonder and affection.
You won’t find me resorting to such language as I reflect on Mr. Usher’s modus operandi and his crowd-funding efforts… promise.
Look at those existing restaurant websites or flip through their Twitter twins for details of what is on offer. It’s pretty obvious that all of Gary’s existing kitchens are producing down-to-earth, crowd-pleasing food. Food which gets elevated by a lot of extra love and attention. Which slaps off-putting pretension firmly out of the equation.
Back to that recent crowd-funding venture for my reaction to one element which nagged at me before and after it hit its target.
Before #wreckfishmaybe became a #definitely I managed to grab the very tasty prospect of ‘Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer BBQ x2’ as a reward. Circumstances (great friends, a different BBQ and the Kaiser Chiefs) intervened and I had to relinquish that pledge.
I still ended up a backer... but with a less glamorous reward than those on offer from any 'celebrity' chef. The screen grab below shows Daddy Griff (me!) on the roll call. How great to see that I'm alongside the already funded Paul Foster. We backed his new venture, 'Salt', on Kickstarter and grabbed our magnificent reward of a lunch for two there at the end of June. More of that soon.
The £200,000 Wreckfish target was a big ask. And I was fearful for some time that it might not be answered.
Here is a list of some of those who joined in to give the project impetus. I apologise to any I have missed.
Dan Doherty, Michael O'Hare, Farokh Talati, Daniel Clifford, Mark Poynton, Tim Allen, Matt Gillan, Russell Bateman, Mark Abbott, Tom Kerridge, Simon Rimmer, Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick.
Do the maths and you’ll see that the whole project would have foundered without the intervention of chefs and their generous offers of support.
Gary insists that those offers were not there at the start.
I still don’t know whether his pre-Kickstarter planning was really that badly thought out. One alternative is that we are all being taken for a clever ride along with Gary who is supposedly flying by the seat of his pants as he cusses all the way to glory… with everything secretly and clinically planned and approved by the commercial arm of Elite Bistros. I find that hard to believe though. What does appear certain is that an industry which is such damn hard work is still endowed with people who have exceptional skills, wonderful creativity and, above all, enough love to support their peers. And that there were enough of them with enough love to make Wreckfish a reality.
Here is a bit of that love on full display...
Ah, what the heck - here's some more love...
However its goal was achieved, Wreckfish will open on the 23rd October and you can now follow this link to book and eat in Liverpool city centre.
Let’s face it, the most important thing is that thousands more of us will now be able to pay stupidly reasonable prices to dine out. To enjoy the passion of a team who think that great food is even more important than filthy language.
And, in this particular instance, that’s really all that fucking well matters.
What’s that? I promised? Yes. I did, didn't I… SHIT!