MasterChef finalist opening Italian restaurant in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 14:11 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:04 23 March 2019
A finalist on MasterChef: The Professionals is set to open a new Italian restaurant in the city.
Oliver Boon, who made the top three on the 2012 series of the BBC Two show, is bringing Benoli to Norwich this summer.
The restaurant will replace Italian cafe Presto in 5 Orford Street when owner Robert Cimelli retires at the end of March.
Mr Boon, aged 29, has just moved to Cromer from London and decided to open in Norwich as it his favourite place in the area.
Mr Boon said: “I don’t want the restaurant to be seen as fine dining as it is meant to be simple, rustic Italian food with a focus on quality ingredients with good pasta, cheeses and nice bread.
“It will have a casual feel and will be open from midday until 10pm each day and people can just pop in for a cup of coffee in the day or glass of wine at night.”
The talented chef grew up in Suffolk and went on to work at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze, after sending “about 20 emails asking to work for him”, and Bryn Williams’ Odettes in London.
He then took part in the 2012 series of MasterChef: The Professionals where he got to the final three with Anton Piotrowski, who won the show, and Keri Moss.
Following the programme, acclaimed chef and judge Michel Roux Jr asked him to come and work for him and he went on to be appointed Head Chef of Roux at The Landau in Regent Street in London.
Mr Boon also returned to East Anglia in 2013 and ran a pop-up at the Petrus Wine Bar in Bury St Edmunds.
Benoli is set to open in Norwich in early summer 2019.