HOW'S this for starters - a restaurant due to open in a former Hereford stationery shop this spring will have its food overseen by a Masterchef finalist.

The Cellar Door has signed up top chef Josh Donachie who reached the knockout stages of the popular BBC competition in November.

The restaurant will open on the site of the former Paperway store on Widemarsh Street which has been closed for more than two years.

Lauren Waring is the brainchild behind the project which promises to serve fresh seasonal produce as well as other offerings such as shellfish and Hereford beef.

A cafe is also planned, selling the likes of homemade pastries, quality breakfasts plus speciality teas and coffees.

Mr Donachie, who is 26, has been doing freelance work of late but said he jumped at the chance of leading the Cellar Door team.

"I got in touch with Lauren as soon as I heard she was looking for a chef," he said. "It sounded like a dream job to me.

"The food we produce will depend on the seasons. That is very important to me.

"I'm really looking forward to working alongside Lauren. I think it's going to be a great venture."

Mr Donachie was one of 12 contestants who reached the knockout stages of the recent Masterchef series.

"It was an amazing opportunity; a bit daunting at first but then you become familiar to your surroundings and get used to the cameras," he said.

He will now choose a team to assist him ahead of the planned opening in late spring.

Miss Waring said she was delighted with the recruit.

"He is a face a lot of people will recognise," she said, adding the search is now on for other positions including a restaurant manager.