The man behind Worthing’s answer to Nando’s said hard work and fresh produce is the secret to his success.
Ever since Fernando’s Grill opened with little ceremony in Chatsworth Road 15 months ago, the restaurant has grown in popularity through word of mouth to the extent that a takeaway shop will be opening in Chapel Road. Click here to read more.
Owner Ali Tembel is the man behind Fernando’s. Born in northern Cyprus, the 40-year-old moved to Worthing in 2005 and ran a grocery shop before starting the grill.
With the name and its menu, which includes peri-peri chicken, it has been compared to the Portuguese restaurant chain Nando’s.
But Ali said Fernando is his own nickname, and the restaurant also serves steaks, dishes from around the world, like German schnitzel, and recipes of his own concoction like the Worthing burger, filled with halloumi cheese, onions and a mushroom.
He said: “There are so many Chinese, Indian and pizza restaurants all copying each other.
“I believe if I do something different I’m going to be successful, and I trust my experience and background.”
Ali’s first foray into the world of restauranteering was back in his home country at age 12, when he took jobs in kitchens and learnt to cook.
He then got a job at The Harbour Club in Kyrenia Harbour, where he worked for 20 years. He said: “I improved my English and met people from all over the world. I learnt everything there: how to serve customers, how to treat them.”
The takeaway in Chapel Road, near the Scope charity shop, will be called Fernando’s Express and will open in eight weeks, creating around 13 jobs.
He said: “I’m doing it to give something back to the people of Worthing.”
The future goal was to open branches in Littlehampton and Bognor, to build a future for his two children, Louie, 13, and Ruby, nine.
He said: “They are so proud of me and are always supportive – and they say the food is amazing.”