A CELEBRITY chef is set to unveil a fine dining restaurant in Billericay – the second of its kind in south Essex.
Mark Baumann is to open Bourgee, which specialises in steak and lobster, in Chapel Street later this year, replacing the former Goodspeeds fishmongers.
Billericay is following in the footsteps of Southend, where the flagship Bourgee restaurant is set to open in Eastern Esplanade, on September 12.
In Billericay the former fishmongers, which had been a popular fixture in the town for 75 years, was forced to close at the end of 2011 because of stiff competition from supermarkets, such as the nearby Waitrose.
Now chef Mark Baumann, who has appeared on the BBC and the Good Food Channel, will serve produce used in Michelin star restaurants around the world, including beef from northern Spain and British lobster.
Ambitious Mr Baumann, who also runs Baumann’s Brasserie, in Coggershall, hopes to launch a third Bourgee branch in Essex next year, before expanding throughout Britain.
He said: “We are thrilled to finally see our vision of the Bourgee concept launch in the UK and are confident our innovative menus, sumptuous and vibrant destinations coupled with our sensible pricing strategy will strike a chord with diners across the country and prove there is no reason why superb product, service and venues should not be available to everyone.”
However Billericay businessman Trevor Draper, who runs the Cook Shop, raised concerns about the town becoming overrun with restaurants.
He said: “It seems the only thing which makes money in the town at the moment is bars and restaurants, and we are slowly losing the face of Billericay because of that.”
Ian Davie, chairman of the planning committee at Billericay Town Council, shared his views, but expects the new business to thrive in Billericay.
He added: “I have been waiting for something to happen with the old Goodspeeds building for a long time. It’s much better for it to be occupied than go to rack and ruin.
“It would be better if there was wider variety of business, but people are spending money in the town and that is the main thing.”