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Buongiorno Helmsley – Popular Italian restaurant re-opens its doors under new management

The much-loved Gepetto’s Italian restaurant in Helmsley opened its doors for the first time last week under new management and with a fresh new feel.

When Dino Valenghi, who had owned the restaurant for 18 years, decided to retire, he had no hesitation in offering to hand the reins over to Francois Strydom, owner of The Fat Chef Company, with whom he had been working for several years.

Francois brings with him a vast amount of experience as both a chef and a business owner. Having grown up “in the kitchen”, he moved to the UK in 2005 and worked for the Jamie Oliver group on his chain of Italian restaurants. Setting up on his own three years ago, Francois launched an event catering company, The Fat Chef Company, which provided the highest quality food for festivals, weddings and parties, as well as providing consultancy for a variety of restaurants. The Fat Chef Company also runs the popular cafe at the International Centre for Birds of Prey at Duncombe Park.

Having been closed for almost a week, Gepetto’s, which is based on Helmsley’s bustling Bridge Street, re-opened its doors on Friday 8th January, having been given a makeover. The restaurant is planning extended opening hours from April 2016, including a lunchtime service on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with later opening hours at the weekend.

Francois explains: “This was a fantastic opportunity and one we just couldn’t say no to. Dino has done an amazing job with the restaurant, and he will be sadly missed – although hopefully we’ll still see plenty of him! We will do him proud. We want to keep things fresh and delicious and make Gepetto’s the place to go for well executed, authentic Italian cuisine – with a Fat Chef twist. Regulars will notice some new, exciting dishes on the menu. We look forward to meeting more of the local community over the coming weeks.”

To find out more about what’s going on in Helmsley go follow Helmsley on Facebook www.facebook.com/visithelmsley or @visithelmsley on Twitter.

To find out more about Gepetto’s follow The Fat Chef Company on Facebook www.facebook.com/FatChefCompany or @FatChefCo on Twitter.