When it comes to culinary prowess, Birmingham is one to watch. With four Michelin stars in Brum (the most outside of London, and four more than Manchester, don’t you know?), the city at the heart of the UK and its Birmingham chefs are stamping its mark on the foodie map across the nation and beyond.
It goes without saying that behind every dish and experience is a head chef driving their teams to create something special for their guests. Below is a round-up of some of the best chefs the city has to offer, including a few gems that we’re sure will soon become household names – if they’re not already.
A graduate of the University College Birmingham, renowned for its high standards of teaching culinary arts, Carter extended his knowledge of the restaurant industry by working in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants across the globe, including France and Menorca. His dishes draw influences from these experiences, which he has brought to add a contemporary twist to classic British meals.
As well as a Michelin Star, Carter has been awarded various other accolades in his career, including the Good Food Readers’ Restaurant of the Year and two AA Rosettes.
Proprietor of Harborne Kitchen, Jamie Desogus, wasn’t always destined for the kitchen; having studied music production and initially only working part time in restaurants before joining a band, it wasn’t until this band broke up before he decided to give working back of house a proper go.
Learning under Mark Askew at the acclaimed Petrus in Knightsbridge, Jamie has honed his skills to bring delicious British dishes to the table at his own restaurant, which you can find on Harborne High Street. Desogus is definitely one to watch, having received plenty of acclaim from food critics and chefs alike.
With over two decades of industry experience under his belt, Luke Tipping is one of the most accomplished chefs in the UK. After teaming up with restaurateur, Andreas Antona, together the pair helped to raise the profile of Simpsons to that of which it is today; one of the most sought after restaurants in the city, which has held a Michelin Star since 2000.
Throughout his career, Tipping has received an array of prestigious accolades, including the first ever Midlands Chef of the Year in 1999, and in October 2010, he received Professorship of Culinary Arts by University College Birmingham in recognition of his efforts in helping to create the next generation of high quality chefs.
Luton-born Louisa Ellis was the only woman finalist in 2017’s MasterChef: The Professionals, after blowing the judges away with her excessive skills, something not often executed successfully at the age of 22.
Since moving to Birmingham to work for some of the region’s most renowned restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Adam’s and her current post at the quirky The Wilderness, Ellis has made name for herself as one of the few professional female chefs in the area. Thirsty to learn and continue to building on her experiences, Ellis’ skills and drive will get her places. It’s only a matter of time before she rises through the ranks.
Born and raised in the outskirts of Birmingham, Glynn Purnell worked his way up from an apprentice to the acclaimed Michelin-starred chef he is today. Affiliated with some of the industry heavyweights, including Gordon Ramsey and Gary Rhodes, Purnell has himself earned himself a position in the chef hall of fame.
Well established as a formidable cooking force, Purnell has paved the way for other chefs in the region looking to climb the ladder to success. For a taste of fine dining, visit Purnell’s on Cornwall Street in the city centre where you can sample tasting menu, including the intriguingly named ‘Brummie tapas in Purnell’s living room’. Alternatively, for a more affordable option with just as much flavour, visit Purnell’s Bistro and Gingers Bar on Newhall Street.
Taking position as Head Chef at the famous Harvey Nichols store in The Mailbox – a high-end shopping mall in the city – last December, Stewart Mackie has had a passion for food since he was a young boy. A keen experimenter, you can find plenty of classic British dishes on Mackie’s menu, cooked in experimental ways, as well as a plethora of meat-free and vegan dishes.
If you’re after a tantalising menu for reasonable prices, we’d suggest taking a trip to find out why Mackie is one to watch. We’d recommend the burgers and chicken flat bread if you’re stopping by!
You may know Leo Kattou for his appearance on Masterchef: The Professionals alongside Ellis in 2017, but in our city, Kattou’s name has been batted around for quite some time.
Having started from humble beginnings working in his parent’s fish and chip shop in adjoining city, Coventry, Kattou is now known for being sous chef at the aforementioned Simpsons following a particularly successful work experience placement nearly ten years ago. Kattou has reached the final of the British Culinary Federation Young Chef the Year twice, and has impressed the likes household names including Marcus Wareing and Moinca Galetti. Although he’s still young in terms of experience, Kattou is working his way up the ranks fast, with his raw talent making him stand out.
Founder of and head chef at Birmingham’s most creative fine-dining restaurant, The Wilderness, Alex Claridge’s fun take on food has cemented this chef as one to watch on the Brummie culinary scene. Born and bred in the city, Claridge claims that his chef skills were ‘largely self taught’ after realising he didn’t want to follow the corporate path as so many of his peers did after university.
Inspired by ingredients and dishes that ignite memories and reactions – ants have previously been on the menu, as well as a dessert named ‘Oh, bollocks’ – Claridge’s food is eclectic and entertaining, enough to make the most memorable of experiences in the city.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.