A former MasterChef contestant's fine dining restaurant has hit its crowdfunding goal, potentially securing a launch next year.

Restaurant Jord, headed by former MasterChef contestant Mike Bartley, 37, in Bishop Auckland looks set to open next year after its Kickstarter fundraiser smashed its £35,000 goal with 38 days to go.

The eatery's crowdfunder has raised nearly £38,000 at the time of writing.

Mr Bartley said he was overjoyed after his business reached their goal and thanked everyone who contributed to the effort.

Read more: Restaurant Jord in Bishop Auckland set to open in 2024

The Northern Echo:

He said: "I did not expect to be posting this today, but we’ve smashed our £35k goal in less than half of the 60 day deadline.

"When I published the Kickstarter 22 days ago, I instantly thought I had made a huge mistake.

"It quickly dawned on me that in order to reach the goal, I’d have to convince well over 300 people to believe enough in the project to want to make a pledge.

"I was ready for a tough slog and there were points where I thought it might be futile.

"But I was so wrong. It’s pretty overwhelming to see how much support there is for this, and I can’t thank you all enough for pledging, and for plugging the hell out of this on your own social feeds to ensure that everyone knows about it."

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The Northern Echo:

"The fact that we’ve reached the target amount in less than half the allotted time is mind-blowing," he added.

"It is testament to the level of support in the local community and an appetite for the rejuvenation of Newgate Street.

"I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few months have in store. A lot of hard work, I’d imagine!

"But I’m committed to repaying the public’s faith in the project by creating a great new place to eat and drink in the town.

"The target has been hit, but people are welcome to still make a pledge if they would like to secure the discounted price for the tasting menu."

Mr Bartley told The Northern Echo last week the money would go towards maximising the potential of the restaurant - fitting out the venue with suitable furniture, artwork, and various pieces of kitchen equipment.

He said he had been a fan of MasterChef for years before appearing on the show, and began working as a private chef shortly after appearing on the show.

He said he plans to prioritise simpler food over "fancy" offerings following his experiences on the show and working as a private chef.

Mr Bartley added he plans to deploy his "greatest hits" to begin with as the restaurant's menu continues to evolve.

The Northern Echo:

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The Northern Echo:

He said it will offer a "relaxed yet refined" tasting menu in the evening, and an "elevated brunch" offering during the day, along with wines and cocktails.

A crowdfunder on Kickstarter can last for a maximum of 60 days, and if it does not reach its target within this time, the creator will not receive the pledges.

Mr Bartley added that the goal was a minimum target, and if pledges continue to come in, the tasting menu could be secured at a discounted price.