Steven Gerrard has earned himself god-like status in his native Liverpool by serving up some of the most beguiling football the city has ever witnessed. Now the England star is hoping to become a gastronomic legend as well, after announcing he has bought a stake in his favourite restaurant and is busy refurbishing it in time for the World Cup this summer.
The Warehouse Brasserie in Southport has long been a magnet for Merseyside's footballing aristocracy, who bring their wives and girlfriends to seek quality food and anonymity amid the chi-chi leather and chrome surroundings of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated restaurant.
Chief among these has been Liverpool's number one power couple, £6m-a-year Stevie G and his wife, Alex Curran. Not content with popping over for a bite to eat, the midfielder and keen amateur chef revealed yesterday that he had teamed up with local hotelier Paul Adams to redevelop the brasserie and turn it into a hipster-style New York hangout.
But Gerrard insisted he would be taking a backseat role in the venture, and that it would not become a celebrity restaurant. "This is not a theme bar, it's about great food, great surroundings and making it a place that people really want to come back to," he said.
"I have been eating there for years, so it is genuinely exciting to become its co-owner with Paul," the 29-year-old added. "If you look back at any interviews I have done where they have asked me about my favourite restaurant, I have always said the Warehouse."
The new name for the venue will be the Warehouse Kitchen & Bar. If it proves successful there are plans to roll it out as a chain around Manchester and Liverpool.
Mr Adams said: "We were having dinner one evening and discussing the plans for the Warehouse. Steven really liked the idea and suggested we do it together, which I thought was a great idea. I would echo what Steven says about this not being a 'celebrity' restaurant. Steven is simply one of the owners and, like me, he shares a passion for great food and great design."
Among regular diners are Anfield legends Kenny Dalglish and Match of the Day's Alan Hansen. Gordon Ramsey has also eaten there and said he liked it. But while Liverpool players have been forced to endure a disappointing season on the pitch this year, they have been going from strength to strength in the kitchen.
This week, the club's star Spanish striker, Fernando Torres, revealed that he has challenged teammates Gerrard and Jamie Carragher – who owns the family-friendly Café Sports England in Liverpool – to take part in an episode of Channel 4's Come Dine With Me. He thought the Liverpool trio could hold their own against Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas in a dinner party showdown.
One apocryphal tale doing the rounds relates an overheard half-time conversation between two Liverpool stars: "Someone said 'great nutmeg' and [I] assumed it was a compliment until I realised he actually said 'grate nutmeg' which, as we all know, is step five of Carra's [Carragher's] legendary cauliflower cheese recipe."
At the close of play: Footballers in business
Terry Venables The former England manager was well known for his business ventures – his ownership of Scribes drinking club resulted in his being banned as a company director. He also had financial interests in four clubs, co-wrote four books, co-created the series Hazell and devised his own board game.
David Ginola When the stylish French striker hung up his boots, he found a new career as a wine maker, and in 2008 received a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge for a rosé produced at his vineyard in Provence.
Lee Dixon After a successful career at Arsenal, Dixon bought into a chain of ill-fated Indian restaurants called Shimla Pinks. He also teamed up with Heston Blumenthal, investing in the Riverside Brasserie in Bray, Berkshire.
Mick Channon With his windmill goal celebration, Channon was a stalwart of Southampton and England in the 1970s. After his playing days, he turned to horse racing, becoming one of the country's leading trainers.Reuse content