Festival success helps pair open own restaurant

Tim Monkhouse, of Papa Ganoush, who is opening a restaurant in Whitley Bay after success at the Proper Food and Drink Festivals.
Tim Monkhouse, of Papa Ganoush, who is opening a restaurant in Whitley Bay after success at the Proper Food and Drink Festivals.
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A son has thanked a festival for helping fulfil his ambition to open a restaurant.

Tim Monkhouse, from Whitley Bay, and son Tom are familiar sights at Proper Food and Drink Festivals selling their Middle East street food.

Michiko McCartney, of Tokyo Kitchen, at the Proper Food and Drink Festival.

Michiko McCartney, of Tokyo Kitchen, at the Proper Food and Drink Festival.

They set up Papa Ganoush after both were made redundant five years ago. Their food has become so popular that they are going to open their first restaurant later this summer in Park View, Whitley Bay.

And plans are in the pipeline for others in Edinburgh and Harrogate.

Following the Whitley Bay Proper Food and Drink Festival – organised by Mark and Shelley Deakin – Tim said the experience they have gained working at festivals has given them the confidence to fulfil Tom’s dream of owning his own restaurant.

He said: “It’s a big step up from where we are now to where it’s going to be but we’ve established our name, thanks to Mark and Shelley’s festivals, so we’re not opening a restaurant unknown. We’ve had the opportunity to build a reputation.”

The pair plan to continue working at Proper Food and Drink Festivals – going to Cramlington and North Shields soon – but are looking forward to offering restaurant customers a taste of their full culinary repertoire.

Russell and Michiko McCartney, also from Whitley Bay, might one day themselves open a restaurant in the town.

Russell, a sales manager for a recruitment company, said: “Potentially. It feels that Whitley Bay’s coming up a bit.”

For now the parents of three children are content to provide authentic Japanese street food through their business Tokyo Kitchen.

“Michiko grew up in restaurants in Japan where her father was a chef. She knows how tough it is – 24 hours a day,” said Russell.

“These events – which attract so many different types of people – really showcase our food. The food business is opening up because of these festivals. People seem a lot more interested and they can come up and try different things.”

Thousands of people visited the dozens of stalls set up on the Spanish City Plaza.

Organiser Mark Deakin said: “We’ve known lots of the businesses, like Papa Ganoush and Tokyo Kitchen, for years. They’ve become good friends so it’s fantastic to see them doing so well.”

The next Proper Food and Drink Festival is being held in Cramlington July 30 and 31 before returning to North Tyneside on August 20 and 21 when it takes place in Northumberland Square in North Shields.