Alex Rushmer From Masterchef to Vanderlyle

We loved speaking to Alex Rushmer, a Masterchef finalist, about all things foodie and how being part of MasterChef changed his life. Alex previously ran the restaurant Hole in the Wall, which closed in 2017. He has now opened a new restaurant – Vanderlyle! Here is what he had to say.

Alex Rushmer

How did taking part in Masterchef change your life?

Taking part in, and reaching the final of Masterchef in 2010 was the springboard that I needed to pursue a career in hospitality and cooking. It is more commonplace to head into kitchens straight from school, sometimes as early as 16, but I was a good ten years beyond that. I’d tried several other jobs before I entered Masterchef but nothing was as exciting or satisfying as cooking. Having the platform of Masterchef was enough of a confidence boost to convince me that it was worthwhile trying to pursue a career in cooking full time. I opened The Hole in the Wall a year later.

What inspired you to start your cooking career?

I don’t think there was a single moment that fully inspired my cooking career but more a gradual awareness that food, cooking and shared dining experiences can bring people together in ways that nothing else can. There is also something innately satisfying, still, about creating something delicious from a selection of raw ingredients.

What made you decide to open a new restaurant after closing Hole in the Wall?

There were always a great many things I loved about running The Hole in the Wall, but also several aspects of it that I found that I didn’t enjoy. It was a huge commitment and in order to make it work I was there six or seven days a week and employing over 20 people which had its own stresses and strains. After six years, when my lease came to an end, I decided to move on and think about how to create a restaurant that allowed me, as much as possible, to make the most of the positive aspects of hospitality, whilst avoiding the negative ones, and Vanderlyle represented the best way to do that in terms of size, scope and location.

What can we expect from your new restaurant?

Vanderlyle is everything I want from a restaurant experience, both in terms of a restaurateur and diner. It is relaxed, small, intimate and fun with a keen focus on sustainability. That refers both to the food we cook and the attitude we take towards work. We are only open four days a week which enables us to keep the same team for every service and make sure everyone is performing at their absolute best. It also allows us to focus on quality and devote time to creativity as well as sourcing the best produce from the local area. The menu is vegetable focused and there is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from surprising people with how interesting and delicious a vegetable-heavy menu can be.



About the Author: Cassie Hind

Over the past couple of months, I have had the pleasure of working with Vhari and her team at The Food Marketing Experts. After much frustration and stress from completing my A Levels, Vhari took me on and offered me some work experience. Working with the team has given me an insight into the wonderful world of business and marketing, shedding light on the career path that I hope to follow once my exams are over. I am now coming towards the end of my work experience and have been given the opportunity to write a series of blogs for Grub Club Cambridge, so I wrote to a few fellow foodies to find out more about the ins and outs of the food and drink industry. I hope you enjoy this series of blogs.


Photo Credit:  @chefalex & Vanderlyle Restaurant