Former students attract £150k investment after spot on hit BBC show

Two former students have secured £150k investment from an industry expert who supports their dream to open a chain of Cuban street food restaurants over the next five years.

Former City of Liverpool College catering students, Michael Harrison and Olie Smith, are one half of the team behind Cuban food brand FINCA, who won the backing of Living Ventures co-founder, Jeremy Roberts, after their recent appearance on the BBC's hit reality show, Million Pound Menu.

Following their success on the show, the lads launched their most ambitious set-up to date, which sees them take up summer residency in the Artisan’s Café Bar in Manchester’s trendy Spinningfields, serving up a menu of their winning Latin and Cuban inspired food.

FINCA, which launched in 2016 and operates in Liverpool’s Baltic Market, were already onto a winning formula with their mix of authentic Cuban inspired cooking and that special FINCA twist. The 'team behind the taste' have proven a hit with foodies across the North West, who pack out their place most days of the week for a taste or their authentic North American cuisine.

It was their signature dishes, including the hugely popular grilled ‘Cubano’ sandwich, which won over investment guru, [Jeremy] Roberts; who liked what he saw both of the chefs and the exciting menu they’ve created. He’s the CEO behind a leading restaurant and bar group which includes The Alchemist, Red Door and Gusto.

Michael, who is chef and co-founder of FINCA, said: “We’ve been perfecting our craft for the past two years on the North West street food scene. It’s a brilliant opportunity to take over a prime location in the Artisan, to bring our food to the forefront and put our ideas in motion. We have huge plans for FINCA and with the fantastic investment Living Ventures has provided, we believe Artisan is the perfect place to start our Manchester journey.”

For more information about FINCA, follow @FincaLiverpool on Instagram, @FincaLpool on Twitter and FINCA Liverpool on Facebook and at the Artisan website:


If this story has inspired you to become a chef, find out more about courses in catering and bakery at The City of Liverpool College HERE


Read more about FINCA’s success:

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