CHEF Paul Wedgwood is injecting cash into an expanding restaurant and delicatessen business on the Caribbean island of Barbados.
Wedgwood, who opened his eponymous restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in 2007, is pumping £20,000 into Relish, which was launched two- and-a-half years ago by local restaurateur Alison Kern.
Relish already has one outlet in the Limegrove Promenade shopping centre in Holetown, where the branch rubs shoulders with luxury brands including Apple, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.
The firm now plans to open two further cafés in February, with one at a luxury yacht marina and the other near an upmarket car showroom site.
Wedgwood has been the head chef at the Celtic Festival Barbados for the past three years and visited Relish while scouting for venues.
“A lot of the kitchens in Barbados are very basic and get very hot, but Alison allowed me to use her large, modern, air-conditioned kitchen to prepare dishes for the festival,” Wedgwood explained.
“So we were working together even before we decided we wanted to do this deal. Alison asked me to come on board as a non-investing culinary director but I told her that I also wanted to invest in the business because I believe it has a lot of potential.”
He said he was still confident about investing on the island despite a possible devaluation of its currency on the horizon. Wedgwood added: “We’re not in this to make a quick buck – this is a long-term investment.
“We practically have a captive audience at both of the new sites so I think it will be hard for the cafés to fail.”
Wedgwood said he would spend next month on the island while his Edinburgh restaurant takes its annual break.
But he maintained that his primary focus would still be in the Scottish capital, where his eatery was named “restaurant of the year” by Scottish Licensed Trade News for the third year out of the past four.
Wedgwood married his wife, Lisa, who is investing in Relish in partnership with him, on Barbados in May.
He has already created dishes for Relish, including a hot and spicy soup based on Vietnamese “Pho” and a fish-skin broth, a first for the island.
Kern said: “His haggis, made from our blackbelly sheep, tastes like the most delicious exotic meat pate, and doesn’t put anyone off in Barbados.”