THE Market Place opened up the doors to its vaults today in an exclusive first-look event which featured The Taste winner Debbie Halls Evans’ first pop-up restaurant.

The mum-of-three created a three-course meal for representatives from 40 Bolton businesses who were invited to the afternoon, organised by local events company DLC Lifestyle, while The Voice contestant Joe Keegan, from Westhoughton, provided acoustic entertainment.

Debbie presented a cauliflower cheese soup for starters, a spring salad with venison, chicken parfait and smoked chicken for the main, and a chocolate cake with pistachio nuts on top for desert.

She said: “I’m really grateful that I have been given the opportunity to show off my food today and prove that I do have the ability in my hometown.

"The proof is in the pudding — people who watched the show have not had the chance to properly see what I can do until today. Hopefully this will be the first of many.”

Cllr Christopher Peacock also attended the event, along with Tim Vaughan, chief executive of The Market Place’s new owners Moorgarth, who spoke about the company’s vision for the currently empty vaults.

Moorgarth has already received permission to build a new nine-screen cinema within the current car park, and is now waiting for the outcome for their application to transform the shopping centre’s bottom floor Victorian vaults into restaurants, bars and shops.

Mr Vaughan said: “Bolton is a wonderful town but it has gone downhill a little in a past couple of years so we want to help transform it into an eclectic mix of independent shops, eateries and fashion stores.

“There are some beautiful buildings here — all it needs is a little injection to create a special restaurant venue such as this, that doesn’t currently exist here.”