Celebrity chef Mitch Tonks to open restaurant in Plymouth
FORTY jobs will be created when a celebrity chef opens a £500,000 seafood restaurant at the National Marine Aquarium.
Award-winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger Mitch Tonks will bring his RockFish brand to the Coxside attraction.
A planning application has been submitted to create the 200-seater RockFish Plymouth diner in the building, formerly used by architects LHC, next-door to the aquarium.
The development represents an investment of about £500,000, the NMA said, and will create an estimated 40 jobs for city people.
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The RockFish brand already operates successful restaurants in Dartmouth and Bristol, and Mr Tonks’ other Dartmouth venue, the Seahorse, won Best UK Restaurant in the Observer Food Magazine awards and Best Seafood Restaurant in the Good Food Guide.
Mr Tonks, described as “a legend” by TV chef Jamie Oliver, is the latest high-profile chef attracted to Plymouth.
The city is already the base for Chris and James Tanner, who have two restaurants and have appeared on TV, and now another telly personality Gary Rhodes is due to open his Rhodes @ the Dome restaurant this month.
RockFish also follows a slew of established chains gravitating to Plymouth, with more arriving too including Le Bistrot Pierre, Wagamama and Las Iguanas all planning to open at the Royal William Yard this year.
RockFish will specialise in serving seafood, most of which will be “sustainably sourced” and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), with much coming straight from city-based fishermen.
Dr David Gibson, managing director at the N MA, said: “We are delighted Mitch Tonks has chosen to open his latest RockFish restaurant here in Plymouth.
“His message of sourcing only the best sustainable seafood is something we wholeheartedly support.
“Mitch has dedicated his career to ensuring that people not only enjoy the best quality seafood available but also that the fish he serves in his restaurants are caught using methods that cause as little damage to the marine environment as possible – helping to keep fish stocks at healthy levels.”
Mr Tonks, author of Fish Easy, said: “We are excited to be opening RockFish in Plymouth. It’s a fantastic site and somewhere where we feel we can make a real impact.
“It’s great to have the support of the NMA, as our key ethos of encouraging marine conservation is so closely matched by the work that the aquarium does both here in Plymouth and further afield.
“It’s going to be a unique partnership, and one which we are very much looking forward to developing over the coming months.”
The development is also supported by Sutton Harbour Holdings plc, with Charlotte Malcolm, marketing manager saying: “It is a ringing endorsement for Plymouth and the harbour that a chef of Mitch Tonks’ calibre has chosen this site for his latest restaurant.
“It will be a great asset in promoting the city to the national visitor market and encouraging residents to visit the waterfront.
“The RockFish restaurant will reinforce Plymouth’s reputation as a leading marine city, as well as reinforcing the NMA’s credentials as a leading authority on marine conservation and sustainable fishing.”