My friend Henri, a sous chef from France, wanted to open a restaurant. It made sense as Henri is as good as a Michelin-starred chef. He won a couple of awards back in Montpellier, the city in which he lived. I think he said it was the Bocuse D’Or. Whatever, if you get an award in France for cooking then you are usually pretty good. He had been to my house a few times and I loved not only letting him loose in our kitchen but also enjoyed being his assistant. He would be a maniac to work for in a real restaurant, though. Talk about finicky!
He was working at a 5-star hotel in London but like all good chefs wanted to own a place in which he could cook what he thought the diners of London wanted and for which they would pay. He was probably right. He had one small problem. In the time that he had been in the UK and settled here, he had an unfortunate investment episode and he already owed more money than he could afford to pay back. That meant his creditors would never allow him to open a restaurant with borrowed money while he still owed them, and who would finance that anyway?
I said I would check it all out with a friend and see what we could do to get a solution to his problem. As it turned out, it was rather simple in the end. We found out that he could apply for a scotlands trust deed and make every effort to pay back as much as he could afford. This action would keep his record clean and allow him to put forward a pretty good case to borrow for the restaurant venture. Especially if friends like me and a couple of others backed him.
Henri was ever so grateful and that’s what he did in the end. His creditors agreed on the terms of the trust deed which was, at least, giving them some money back. Soon enough Henri was in a situation where we could get some action happening on a place of his own. There were so many things to do and the amount of money we needed was blown out a bit because Henri wanted the best of everything in his kitchen. There were no second best or doubtful appliances on his list. My investor friends had no doubt, though that a restaurant in which Henri was cooking food was going to be a winner.
We had the grand opening and advertised enough to fill the place up with our capacity of 56 diners. Henri’s reputation was such that we even had 4 people come all the way from France to eat at the opening night. The three-course set meal for that evening was a hit and the restaurant has been a popular venue for London eaters for a while. Henri’s decision to take out a trust deed was certainly the right one and he has never looked back. He even invited the original creditors to eat there, compliments of Henri to show his appreciation for their trust and forgiveness.