One of Birmingham’s best-known chefs – who has been away from the city for 18 months after an acrimonious split with partners – is making a return this week.
Michelin-star winning Andy Waters will open his new restaurant, Waters on the Square on Saturday night, marking a welcome return for a major figure in the city’s gastronomic rise.
Mr Waters has been working out of the city since leaving Edmunds in Brindleyplace last year following a split with business partners Chris and Cos Papachristoforou.
He moved to the The Queens in Belbroughton, Worcestershire, with his wife Beverley, who runs front of house operations, but will now head up the new venue in Chad Square, off Hawthorne Road in Edgbaston.
Within just 18 months, The Queens has been rated in the 2014 Michelin Guide, winning Bib Gourmand status for “good cooking at moderate prices” of £28 or less, making it one of only 27 restaurants across the UK and Ireland to achieve the accolade.
Mr Waters is hoping to repeat the success of The Queens at his new hub in Edgbaston, offering “good hearty cooking at the right price”. “I go for what my customers want,” says Mr Waters.
“I’ve been very humbled by the following I’ve had since having my own business.
“Since ten years ago when I first won my own Michelin star I’ve had customers who are still following me today.”
He will be chef patron at Waters on the Square, managing head chef Gareth Ward, 32, who has been working alongside him for the last 12 years.
The pair first worked together just two doors down from the new restaurant when Mr Waters opened The Bay Tree in Chad Square in 2001.
Since then, Mr Ward, who is originally from Walsall, has worked his way up the ranks, most recently helping to run the kitchen at The Queens.
Mr Waters’ return comes after restaurateur Adam Stokes won an unprecedented fourth Michelin star in the city.
A gastronomic rise, which Mr Waters played a major role in, led to the editor of the Michelin Guide labelling the city’s restaurant scene as “world class”
Hailing from Bromsgrove, Mr Waters trained at Halesowen Food College before travelling to Lyon to work with French food icon Paul Bocuse, and, closer to home, he has worked alongside Jean Christophe Novelli and Andreas Antona.
Mr Waters worked at Simpson’s restaurant in its early years and was cooking there when it was based in Kenilworth and first won its Michelin star.
He later went on to hold his first head chef position at The Bay Tree in Chad Square before making the move to rural Warwickshire two years later, opening Edmund’s in Henley-in-Arden.
After just six months, Edmund’s was awarded a Michelin star, and went on to be named Restaurant of the Year in the Harden’s guide.
* Church Street-based Hotel du Vin has agreed a partnership with established wine pundit Olly Smith.
An event will take place at the hotel, called The Classics: Wine’s Greatest Hits, on November 3 in which the celebrated wine author talks about winemakers, vineyards, grapes and bottles earn their prestige and status.
Tickets cost £95 per person. Call 0844 73 64250 for information.