Hunger for a taste of Harvey Nichols?

Harvey Nichols shopping bag

The luxurious new Harvey Nichols store in the Mailbox is due to open in July and at its heart will be The Harvey Nichols Restaurant curated by Glynn Purnell.

Glynn Purnell at Harvey Nichols

Glynn has worked closely with the store to develop a stylish all-day dining menu, mentor the restaurant’s new Head Chef and hospitality team, recruit local suppliers and source the specialist ingredients used in each dish.

To give you a taste of the luxurious new shopping haven, Harvey Nichols has teamed up with Flybe Flight Time and Gastro Card to offer one lucky winner a £250 shopping spree instore, dinner for two (up to the value of £100) in its new restaurant as well as a signed copy of Glynn Purnell’s bestselling book Cracking Yolks and Pigs Tales.

So what are you waiting for?! For the chance to win this fabulous prize and enter, please read T&Cs here Competition closes 30 June.

Birmingham chefs take centre stage

There are some familiar faces and a cross section of city venues taking part in the Foodies Festival this weekend.

Foodies Festival Chefs Theatre


To see the guys in action, here is the timetable for the Chefs Theatre.

Friday 15th May

12.00 Dhruv Baker – MasterChef Winner 2010

13.00 Nathan Eades – St Andrews Town Hotel

14.00 Ryan Swift – The Edgbaston

15.00 Robert Grzesik – The Warehouse Cafe

16.00 Nathan Eades – St Andrews Town Hotel

17.00 William Noblett – Ju Ju’s Cafe

Saturday 16th May

12.00 Dhruv Baker – MasterChef Winner 2010

13.00 Nathan Eades – St Andrews Town Hotel

14.00 Glynn Purnell – Purnells

15.00 James Wong – Chung Ying

16.00 Jackie Kearney – The Hungry Gecko

17.00 Nick Turner – Hotel De Vin

Sunday 17th May

12.00 Katy B – ‘Little Miss Meat Free’ Great Vegan Bake Off Winner 2014

13.00 Rachel Green – Top TV Chef

14.00 Aktar Islam – Lasan Group

15.00 Dhruv Baker – MasterChef Winner 2010

16.00 Matt Cheal – Simpsons

Entry to the Chefs Theatre is included in the ticket price. Tickets are released at the festival on the day and are available on a first come, first served basis and entry is limited – register for free entry at the Registration Point opposite the main entrance.

(Photo credits: Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Living)

Great British Food Farm Produce Awards 2015

Great British Food Farm Produce Awards


You might not have heard of the Great British Food magazine’s Farm Produce Awards as they are just a year old. Launched  to celebrate the country’s finest home-grown ingredients, as well as the hardworking folk who produce it, this year’s competition is now open.

By voting for your favourite producers, food sellers and services you’ll automatically be entered into a prize draw to win 1 of 10 top-of-the-range Stellar pans worth £110 each. To vote, just click this link

There are six categories that readers can vote for –

  • Best British Restaurant
  • Best Independent Retailer
  • Best British Food Brand
  • Best Online Retailer
  • Best Food Personality
  • Best Cookbook

Malt Kiln Farm Shop in Coventry is nominated for Best Independent Food Retailer and Adams Restaurant in Birmingham is nominated for Best British Restaurant.  I’ve voted for both of them and added Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales by Glynn Purnell as my favourite cookbook.

Voting is open until 7th June and the winners will be announced in the September issue of Great British Food magazine .

Weekend food telly

Over the weekend you can play spot the local food hero on Channel 4.

weekend tv

The yummie Brummie Glynn Purnell will be appearing on Weekend Kitchen on Saturday as the programme returns for a second series.

On Sunday street food pioneer Richard Johnson will be talking to Leamington Spa’s very own Fresh Rootz on Sunday Brunch.

Purnell’s Brummie Tapas

Inbetween his appearance at the Colmore Business District Food Festival and book signing for Cracking Yolks, Yummie Brummie Glynn Purnell has found the time to create a new Brummie Tapas menu.


For £45 per person you can nibble on plates including

Spiced potato and lime croquettes – tacos – duck egg mayonnaise

Creamed onion explosion – tomato “sharp”

Beetroot mousse – escabeche of vegetables – horseradish crumble

Market fish – chicken glaze – chicken skin – “peas”

Neck of lamb – capers – burnt lettuce – basil emulsion

Strawberries – violet – liquorice

Mint choc chip.

July’s hottest food and drink events

July started with the launch of Leamington Wine Company’s Gin Club, boubon tasting at Hotel du Vin and a stars and stripes dinner at The Star and Garter. Yeeha to American Independence Day! The rest of this month’s food and drink events are just as good.

July events1

This week you could be onstage at The Rep for a Blanch & Shock dinner as part of BE Festival, tucking into gin cocktails and pastries at Loki’s new Gin Brunch, or waving the flag for French Resistance Week at The Church.

July Events2

Next week Glynn Purnell will be signing copies of his book at Harvey Nichols, the Colmore Business District food festival returns and we say hello to a new event  – the Stratford Home and Garden Show at Alscot House.

July events3

July goes out with a bang at the Birmingham Beer Bash, vintage night at Le Truc and a Connolly’s Wine Dinner at Carters of Moseley.  AMV Curiosities takes over The Electric’s Food and Film Club and Clarke and Lee pop-up in the refurbished back bar at the Hare and Hounds.

All the details are on the Events page.

Wherever you go this month I hope that you have a great time discovering or revisiting your favourite chefs, venues and producers in the Midlands.

If there any food and drink events that you think I should add to the blog, please drop me a line at

Cracking Fathers Day gifts

If you’re looking for a ‘cracking’ Fathers Day present, then I don’t think that you can go wrong with Glynn Purnell’s eggcellent first book Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales.


Revealing the recipes of 100 much loved dishes including ‘The Emotions of Cheese and Pineapple’ and ‘Haddock, Eggs and Cornflakes’ the book also gives readers an insight into Glynn’s cooking history. With no holds barred, his humour and passion for food and cooking fly off the pages. £19.99 from all good bookshops, including Waterstones in Birmingham.

Here are two other ideas for Fathers Day gifts, with a distinctively Midlands flavour.

It is not just us ladies that love an afternoon tea! Over at Coombe Abbey gentlemen can enjoy their very own Knights Afternoon Tea.

Coombe Abbey Knight's Gentlemans afternoon tea

Scotch duck egg, Malt Farm pork pie, venison and red wine sausage roll, mature cheddar and sticky pickle sandwich, a chocolate fudge brownie, freshly baked scone with preserves and Cornish clotted cream are served with half a pint of Coombe ale. Available for£19.75 per person (Monday to Friday) and £22.75 per person (Saturday and Sunday).

If you’re Dad likes his food hot, then a Fathers Day Spicy Man Box from Ross and Ross Food may be a good option. As winners of last year’s Best Midlands Street Food at the BBC Good Food Show, these guys are purveyors of fine cheeses, terrines and pates all produced in the Cotswolds.

Ross & Ross Food Fathers Day spicy man box

Goodies contained in the box are a bottle of Pale Whale, British Charcuterie made by the Cotswold Curer, Mr Trotter’s Great British Crackling  pork scratchings flavoured with jalapeno chilli and a jar of smoked apple chutney. All for £20.

So three tasty Father Day gifts all for £20!

Birmingham’s 50 Food Heroes

If you had to draw up a list of 50 food heroes from Birmingham who would be on it?

Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell, street food pioneer Duncan Stanley, or maybe cookery school teacher Tom Baker, with his desire to help the local community, would feature in your top 50. (They would definitely be on mine).

food montage

Carole Mason has the unenviable task of narrowing down the choice of streetfood, pop up restaurants, urban harvesters, farmers markets, supper clubs, growers and even bloggers to include in her new guide No Ping No Bling.

Carole says: “This project arose from my hobby of finding places to eat with No Ping (not reheated in the microwave) and No Bling (no chain restaurants, no fancy pants backers).  As I started to find more and more hidden places that were really rooted in the communities, I discovered just what food heroes they were out there and I started to hook into a network of other places and the excitement built.

Carole Mason

“I thought that if I didn’t know about all these fabulous places and all the amazing people so passionate about food then probably most people round here don’t know either.

“So I have set about spreading the word with a pack of cards,  so that you can take one out and easily carry when you are out and about. The intention is for the pack of cards to be available in high street stores, online, at food events and ideally I want to sell them to the airlines so that people can plan before they arrive in Birmingham.”

To launch Birmingham’s 50 Food Heroes,  Carole has created a page on crowdfunder. If you’d like to support the project, please follow this link

Kitchen School a new food experience for Birmingham

At the Gastro Card fundraising lunch for Birmingham Settlement at Opus, diners heard the latest news from Kitchen School.

TrevorLand JayneBradley MartinHolcombe

Pictured left to right: Trevor Land Gastro Card, Jayne Bradley Kitchen School and Martin Holcombe Birmingham Settlement.

Kitchen School’s Director Jayne Bradley explained how this social enterprise in Harborne aims to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing, by building a passion to grow, cook and eat good food.

“To achieve our vision we will teach the skills and share the knowledge to make cooking and eating an engaging and positive experience.

The school will offer a wide programme including cookery classes for parents and children, artisan skills of bread making, brewing, butchering and pickling, nutrition advice and international cuisines seven days a week.”

The initiative is supported by local chefs, including Glynn Purnell. Glynn says “We support Kitchen because improving people’s health and food standards in Birmingham starts with making sure people have the right knowledge and importantly have fun cooking.”

Kitchen School is due to open in December. Check for updates or follow Jayne on Twitter @kitchenschool.


BBC Good Food Show Winter

BBC Good Food Show Winter






It is hard to believe that the BBC Good Food Show is now in its 22nd year. On Wednesday I braved the crowds at the NEC (with their shopping trollies) to see how the show could still attracted thousands of consumers and hundreds of food producers.

Spread over four halls there are five demonstration theatres – Saturday Kitchen Live, M&S Christmas theatre, Masterchef Experience, the Great British Bake Off stage and 2,000 seater Super Theatre, where the BBC Food & Farming Awards were announced.

The World Cheese Awards were being judged and for a £5 taster ticket you could sample some of the 3,000 varieties for the coveted awards.







When I arrived I had just missed Glynn Purnell on the Saturday Kitchen stage, but his recipe for roast brill with scorched lettuce and fondue of onion features in the show guide.

Glynn Purnell recipe









My first stop was the Producers’ Village. I’d read about Frost & Snow cupcake bakery in Birmingham, who in association with Midland Heart, provide training and jobs for homeless people as a social enterprise. Their stand had a beautiful selection of cakes that you can have delivered as part of their Cupcake Friday.

Frost and Snow cupcakes






I stopped to say hi to Paul Whitehead on The Mini Jar Company stand, who told me that he had just taken delivery of some seeds from the US that were the world’s hottest chillies. He plans to unleash these fiery beasts on the contestants in the 2013 Chilli Festival in Brindleyplace 19 – 21 July. You have been warned!

The Mini Jar Company







Ardens from Stratford upon Avon had an attractive stand with lots of wrapped gifts, that the shoppers found very appealing.



There was a queue of hungry diners at the Napton Water Buffalo stand, patiently waiting for a  sizzling burger straight from the grill.

Napton Water Buffalo









It is difficult to stand out amonst the other exhibitors without a great stand design or creative marketing, so I particularly liked the branding on the Mrs Crimble’s stand. Their efforts paid off as people were stopping to look at the Morris Minor and enter their Facebok competition.

Mrs Crimble's


In need of a break I headed over to the Super Theatre for the BBC Food & Farming Awards. From bakers to dinner ladies, cider makers to cheesemakers, the finalists and winners are truly inspirational in their desire to make and sell good food for everyone.

BBC Food and Farming Awards









The winners are:

Best Food Market – Sutton Bonnington

Set up by students at the University of Nottingham, the market sells produce ranging from bison burgers to local cheeses and is wowing both students and residents alike with the quality of locally produced food.

Best Food Producer – joint winners Westcombe Dairy and Pump House Bakery

With a record number of entries for this category there were five finalists and still the judges couldn’t decide on one outright winner! Westcombe Dairy has been producing cheese since 1890 and the latest generation of the family has brought the business bang up to date. The Pump House Bakery in Suffolk extends its customer base by takes its bread to villages and food festivals.

Best Big Food Idea – Growing Communities

Basde in Hackney, this local food co-operative makes up 1,100 bags of food each week for 750 local households. As well as helping to feed people, the scheme pays fair prices to farmers and has created 25 part-time jobs.

Best Public Caterer – Lyndsey Anderson

Lyndsey and her team serve breakfast and lunch to 1,000 kids at the Excelsior Academy in Newcastle. Unable to accept the award in person due to cancelled trains from the floods, Lyndsey will soon by visited by Jamie Oliver who announced the winner by video link.

Best Drinks Producer – Once Upon A Tree

Don’t you just love this compnay name! A collaboration between the Dragon Orchard in Ledbury and this cider maker, Once Upon A Tree’s owner is a former wine maker who wants the public to re-connect cider with food.

Derek Cooper Award – Mike Duckett

At the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital Mike Duckett has proved that you can provide good, healthy food that patients like within the restraints of a hospital kitchen. (Food blogger Martha Payne of food blog Never Seconds was a finalist in this category for changing our relationship with food).

Best Local Food Retailer – Eurospar Wales

Stocking only local products, this is the second time that this retailer in Wales has scooped a BBC Food & Farming Award. Owner of The People’s Supermarket and chef Arthur Potts Dawson presented this award in his apron, as he was cooking lunch for the winners using their ingredients.

Best Street Food / Takeaway – The Morrocan Soup Stand

For twelve hours a day for more than a decade, this street food stand has been serving hearty soups and stews in Goldborne Road, London, which impressed judges Valentine Warner and Charles Campion.

Farmer of the Year – Guy Watson

Proving that there is a demand for organic produce, Guy Watson is meeting the challenges of growing organic produce from his Riverford Organic Farm in Devon.