CHEF entrepreneur Gary Usher, owner of award-winning Hoole restaurant Sticky Walnut, has been shortlisted for the Best Restaurateur award in the annual GQ Food and Drink Awards.

Gary, founder of the six-restaurant strong Elite Bistros group, has been recognised as an outstanding example of a restaurateur, following a string of record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns, which have cemented the bistros as some of the most celebrated in the UK.

Wreckfish, which launched in Liverpool in September 2017, raised a record-breaking £200k in its Kickstarter campaign – the largest amount ever raised in the UK for a restaurant.

Usher’s next venture, Pinion in Prescot, which opened in September last year, broke records once again, with a staggering £50k raised in just one hour. The sixth restaurant, Kala, will be opening on Manchester’s King Street later this year.

Gary said: “I am absolutely made up to have been nominated for this award. I always remember looking at the pictures in my brother’s GQ when I was a kid and thinking what a seriously cool magazine it was.

"The response we’ve had to the bistros continues to be amazing and I’m humbled by everyone’s support. Being shortlisted is testament to the constant hard work of the incredible team.”

The awards ceremony will take place on April 30, after a panel of leaders in the fields of food and drink, journalism, hospitality and interiors determine the winners.

Last year, the GQ Food and Drink Awards received thousands of suggestions from across the country for the very best in wining and dining. Presented by Veuve Clicquot, the awards recognise the most innovative top performers in the food, drink and hospitality sectors, judged by a panel of industry giants, including renowned restaurateur Jason Atherton and GQ editor, Dylan Jones.