Worthing’s Kenny Tutt: From bank manager to MasterChef-winning restaurant owner
Worthing’s Kenny Tutt returned to MasterChef last night (March 4), not as a bright-eyed amateur chef but as a former champion, restaurant owner and guest judge.
It marked the latest step in an incredible journey for the former bank manager, who entered the BBC cookery competition in 2018 and within seven weeks had transformed his life.
His three course meal in the final wowed judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace, serving a main course of squab pigeon breast and bon-bon, with heritage beetroot, baby turnip and spiced cherries, served with a bread sauce and a game jus.
A few months later – at the beginning of 2019 – Kenny handed in his notice at the bank and announced plans for his debut restaurant, Pitch, in Warwick Street in Worthing.
“I would never want to wake up and go ‘what if?’,” he said. “Hospitality is a tough industry, but I like to challenge myself.”
Opened in partnership with his wife, Lucy, Pitch launched in May of that year to much fanfare and has gone from strength to strength,
Herald reporters John Holden and James Butler attended the launch, and James was not ashamed to admit he sampled the food with two plates on the go. Read his review here: Kenny Tutt’s new restaurant: this is what we thought of the foodKenny described opening Pitch as a ‘baptism of fire’, particularly with little to no restaurant experience prior to its opening.
In order to ‘earn his stripes’, he said he had been working until 4am peeling vegetables, preparing for the next day’s service and doing all the things a junior chef would usually do coming up in the industry.
Pitch also runs a cookery school to compliment its restaurant.
As a hospitality business, Pitch was hit hard by the pandemic but Kenny adapted by launching Tutt’s Truck in Ferring, a pop-up food truck that has helped keep his business afloat and his 32 members of staff employed.
Pitch has also been offering ‘do it yourself’ cookery kits for people to make their favourite Pitch dishes at home during lockdown.
At 8pm on BBC One last night, viewers got to see Kenny dishing out the constructive criticism, rather than receiving it, advising the amateur contestants on how best to progress in the competition.
It was a poetic return to the show that sparked the whirlwind of the last three years.
With the end of lockdown in sight and Pitch preparing to reopen its doors, it looks like there is plenty more to come from one of Worthing’s favourite sons.