Earlier this year, the 39-year-old TV personality joined forces with hospitality mogul Fraser Carruthers to launch Poké the Bear, a premium delivery kitchen in Chelsea, London.
Following the success of the business, a second site was opened in Clapham, west London, and now Calum is following in the footsteps of his late father, legendary Manchester United forward George Best, by heading to the city in North West England to open the next chain on December 1.
In addition to the new venues, Michelin Star chef Richard Galli – who is the executive chef at the Goring Hotel – has joined the Poké the Bear team and introduced several Brazilian elements to create an entirely new and unique take on the traditional Hawaiian dishes.
Speaking about the Manchester venture, Calum said: “I have a really strong connection with Manchester and I can’t wait to bring this brand and kitchen to this amazing city and spend more time there. Poké the Bear has just got even better with the addition of Richard and his dishes, so there’s no better time to take it up north as well as to some of my other favourite places, including over the water to Dublin.”
Speaking about joining the exciting venture, Galli said: “Over the past 15 years I have dedicated my life to fine dining. I’ve now got the opportunity to bring the knowledge and standards that I’ve learnt into this exciting fast food casual concept. Poké The Bear is the perfect place for me to explore new concepts. This is poké like never before.
“I’m trying to bring some Brazilian influences to Poké the Bear, the fresh fruits, exotic ingredients and preparations. Brazilian food is relatively unknown outside the Brazilian community in the UK, so it will be a slow process for people to become completely accustomed to it. Rice is the main staple of Brazilian cuisine and has helped with creating the new dishes, rice is much more versatile than most people think.
“I will be bringing a variety of flavours to Poké the Bear from the Amazon to western and north-east regions of Brazil. This is a really exciting time in my career and I cannot wait to see how we grow the brand together.”
The inspiration behind the food venture is the Hawaiian dish poké (pronounced poke-ay) which is comprised of diced raw fish, rice and a selection of vegetables and grains. Galli has adapted the Hawaiian concept of poké and used influences from across the world to ensure every flavour packs a punch, adding vegan options and a variety of nutritious recipes with signature dishes including Braised Octopus and Yellowfin Tuna.
Poké the Bear is committed to sustainability when it comes to the ingredients used, and the packaging is 100 per cent compostable and environmentally friendly.