HIS passion for food has led Dail Berry to be one of the youngest restaurant owners in the city.
The 19-year-old from Cowplain recently took over the cafe at the Groundlings Theatre in Kent Street, Portsea, and has plans to turn it into a restaurant serving fine-dining food.
Since taking the reins in November last year, he has changed the menu from sandwiches to main meals serving English dishes.
As owner and head chef, Dail has put some of his favourite dishes on the menu.
These include a chicken in white wine sauce and roasted lamb shank in a red wine sauce.
He said: ‘The menu is very different from when I first joined.
‘My speciality is a la carte food but for the restaurant, I want the food to be like that of a fine-dining restaurant.
‘But I also plan to only serve English foods.’
The restaurant is on the ground floor of the theatre and is surrounded by costumes and unique theatrical props.
Dail plans to stay at the restaurant for around a year, making it the best it can be, before moving on.
He added: ‘I want to make this restaurant popular but not just for the theatre-goers but also for visitors to the city.
‘We have already seen a massive increase in the number of people who pop in for dinner and I want this to carry on.
‘We used to get around 1 handful of people coming in a week to eat but in a few short months, we have seen that increase to a handful every hour.
‘But when the restaurant has established itself, I will move on.
‘That is what I like to do. I like making a place better and then moving to a new project.’
Dail started off in the food industry when he was 12.
His dad got him a job at a local fish and chip shop, in Waterlooville. By the time he was 16, Dail had progressed as far as he could at the fish and chip shop and was also an assistant manager at separate cafe.
He then worked as a sous chef in different restaurants in the city.
At the end of this year, Dail hopes to open his own restaurant in Palmerston Road.
‘I want to prove people wrong and show that anyone can become restaurant owners or managers,’ he said.