Masterchef finalist’s Peace & Loaf opens tonight

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Dave Coulson (far right) and his team at Peace & Loaf

Masterchef: The Professionals finalist Dave Coulson has opened a new restaurant in Jesmond this weekend.

Peace and Loaf, located on Jesmond Road, will be serving up to 55 patrons from this evening, with some high-profile local residents already booked in for opening night.  The restaurant offers Northern-inspired dishes, including a chicken pie head chef Coulson debuted during his stint on the popular BBC programme Masterchef, judged by Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr, John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

All of the items on the menu have been sourced locally, with the most distant ingredient coming from Darlington.  As well as offering local fayre, the new restaurant has created around 15 jobs, with five chefs and four full-time front of house staff, all of whom live locally.  Although he has no plans to expand for the time being, Peace & Loaf offers a pair of two-year apprenticeships to catering students from nearby Gateshead College.

“Gateshead College have sent us across a couple of students already and we’ve been chatting to them about food and how food makes them feel, basically what they want to get from their life in food.  You’ve got to be hardworking, passionate, clean, driven and you’ve got to love food, haven’t you?  It’s got to become your life,” he says.

Growing up on a council estate in East Durham as a keen footballer, Coulson once had trials with Sheffield United and now compares the camaraderie of the kitchen to that on the pitch.  He realised his own love of food when he started a part time job washing dishes at a local restaurant at the age of 15: “I saw the guys working in the kitchen and I thought ‘that’s for me.’  After a couple of months they let me go up through to the kitchen.  I used to play the nick off school to go to work.”

Coulson decided to apply for Masterchef after a friend went on the year before. “I just wanted to beat him,” he admits. “I thought that if he’s done it, then I can as well.” After impressing Michel Roux Jr and making it into the final three, Coulson is finally realising his dream of opening his own restaurant.  The restaurant’s niche?  “We’ll be offering great tasty food for a reasonable price,” he says.

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