Merseyside’s Claire Lara, the first female winner of TV’s Masterchef, is to open her own restaurant.
Speaking at a five-course gourmet dinner held in her honour at Liverpool Community College, Claire said: “I am excited to announce that I will be opening my own restaurant, hopefully at the end of August, 2011. The restaurant will be at The Royal Hilbre Boutique Hotel and Spa, in Hoylake, which opens its doors soon.”
The £1.5m hotel, in Meols Drive, is due to open later this year. It is situated in a former private nursing home, once a grand Victorian residence.
The building backs on to the historic Royal Liverpool Golf Club, and is close to the Kings Gap hotel, which is being refurbished to include a new Marco Pierre White restaurant.
Moreton-born Claire, who now lives in Birkenhead with chef husband Marc, worked as a part-time catering tutor at the college before she won the show.
Claire said: “It’s a chance for me to give something back to the college and work closely again with the students, as well as working alongside the other Masterchef finalists, David Coulson and John Calton.
“Liverpool Community College is such a nice place to work, with a friendly, welcoming environment, so it’s always a pleasure. I really enjoy working with the students, that’s my passion, and the college has so many talented students coming through, it’s great. The kitchens at the Duke Street campus rival any professional kitchen, too, so they’re always exciting and fun to work in.”
Claire cooked a five-course dinner with students for the sold-out event, which included crispy skinned sea trout with poached apple, roasted pigeon with pommes mousseline quince smokey bacon and red wine jus.
She added: “Despite being on maternity leave, I have been busier than ever,” she said. “The support I have received has been endless not only from friends and colleagues but generally from people in the city. I have been so overwhelmed by so much fan mail and so many well-wishers.”
She said: “Apart from opening my own restaurant, I will be hosting some cookery courses at Claremont Farm, Wirral, over the next few weeks, as well as cooking at the Wheatsheaf Inn, in Wirral, at the end of May.”