Glynn Purnell, Purnell’s
Owner of two establishments in Birmingham, Glynn Purnell has been cooking professionally since he was 14. After training with top chefs including Claude Bosi and Gary Rhodes, he helped launch Birmingham’s first Michelin-starred restaurant – Jessica’s – before opening Purnell’s in Cornwall Street. He got a Michelin star in 2007. He has since opened Purnell’s Bistro. He is a regular on TV cooking programmes, including the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.
Andreas Antona, Simpsons
Andreas Antona, chef patron of Michelin-starred Simpsons, opened his first restaurant – Simpsons – in Kenilworth with fellow chef Luke Tipping who went on to open Simpsons Birmingham and received the Midlands Chef of the Year award. Andreas took over The Cross in Kenilworth in 2013, and is also part of the team behind Pure Bar & Kitchen in Birmingham.
Adam Stokes, Adams
The opening of Adam Stokes’s new restaurant in Waterloo Street has been widely anticipated after the success of the two-year “pop-up” restaurant he ran in the city centre with his wife Natasha. It took just six months for him to get a Michelin star, as well as three AA Rosettes and a rating of number one Restaurant in the UK and fourth best fine dining restaurant in the world by TripAdvisor. Before moving to Birmingham he was head chef at Glenapp Castle in the Scottish lowlands, where he also gained a Michelin star.
Aktar Islam, Lasan
Birmingham-born chef Aktar Islam opened Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter in 2002, and it’s widely tipped to be Birmingham’s next Michelin-starred restaurant. Gordon Ramsay named it the Best Local Restaurant on his Channel 4 series The F-Word, and it has received widespread recognition. The Lasan Group also includes the Raja Monkey street cafe in Hall Green and the Fiesta del Asado Argentinean restaurant in Edgbaston. His latest venture is Nosh & Quaff in Colmore Row.
Jack Brabant, Digbeth Dining Club
Digbeth Dining Club – founded by Jack Brabant in 2012 – is the event that brings street food to the masses in Birmingham. Taking place at Spotlight on Fridays and Saturdays, the award-winning event showcases some of the best street food traders in the city and helps them grow their profile. Now Jack Brabant, who works in the film industry, plans to take the idea to other towns in the Midlands, plus pop-up versions in venues around Birmingham.
Ranjit Boparan, 2 Sisters
Ranjit Boparan’s West Bromwich-based company - best known for its Buxted brand of whole chickens and chicken dishes – supplies most major supermarkets, and has been very successful. His career in food began behind the counter of a butcher’s shop in Bilston – the town where he was born. The 2 Sisters business was founded in 1993 and remains a private company, with husband and wife team Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan Singh the sole shareholders. Ranjit Singh, who lives in Little Aston, is chief executive.
Matt Scriven, Bitters N Twisted
Founded by bourbon and cocktail enthusiast Matt Scriven, Bitters N Twisted has gone on to become one of Birmingham’s most prolific pub and restaurant chains. It has launched the likes of Bodega, The Victoria, Marmalade and The Rose Villa Tavern. The business has also delivered a shot in the arm to local art by featuring work created in the city.
Jayne Bradley-Ghosh, Kitchen School
The not-for-profit Birmingham-based Kitchen School teaches cookery with classes for complete beginners or accomplished chefs. It is part of the Edible Eastside social enterprise which ploughs all income back into its business development and social aims. It also rents plots for people who want to grow their own foods and hosts community events. Jayne Bradley-Ghosh is its director and her mission is to make sustainable, ethical and healthy food available to city dwellers.
Jason Wouhra, East End Foods
Jason Wouhra is part of the second generation of Wouhras running East End Foods, the company begun by his uncles from modest beginnings 40 years ago. Today, East End Foods is one of the leading suppliers of Asian food in the UK and European markets. It employs around 325 staff at its premises in West Bromwich and Aston, including 23 members of the Wouhra family. As well as director and company secretary, Jason Wouhra is also chairman of the Institute of Directors in the West Midlands. He was the first deputy chairman of the Black Country LEP and sits on the regional board of the Prince’s Trust
Woon Wing Yip OBE
Woon Wing Yip arrived in the UK by boat from Hong Kong in 1959, taking a month to complete the journey. He had just £10 in his pocket. Now his Nechells-based oriental grocery business turns over more than £100 million a year. As well as the superstore the recently expanded Nechells site also includes a 30,000 sq ft warehouse, as well as a business centre, two restaurants and the Bank of East Asia. Wing Yip now supplies more than 2000 Chinese restaurants throughout the UK. His four major outlets in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon stock more than 4,500 oriental items. The business, run by Wing Yip’s nephew Henry Yap, is expanding elsewhere, too, including a Chinese superstore in Nottingham.