Anyone remember Bernard Matthews turkey drumsticks? The head chef at Hotel du Vin Birmingham, Greg Pryce does – they were a childhood favourite. Thankfully, all these years later, his palette has lived to tell the tale and head up one of the city’s top eateries!
Tell us about your cooking
If I had to describe my style in just one word, it would be ‘classical’. I enjoy working with traditional tastes, taking flavours that are known and loved, but creating brand new dishes with them. The key here is to use only the finest quality produce and ingredients. At Hotel du Vin, we change our menus to only use seasonal ingredients that are in their prime at the time and we do our best to source them locally so they can keep their freshness.
How did you become a chef?
From a young age, I was always interested in the kitchen and captivated by the magic of cooking. I’d try and experiment with new styles, interesting flavours and exotic dishes. Finding that school wasn’t really for me, I decided to jump straight into pursuing a career at 16 and I joined a modern apprenticeship scheme. I trained at Birmingham College of Food one day a week and worked at St John’s Hotel in Solihull for the other four days, learning on the job and trying my hand at as many different dishes as possible. From there, I went to Marriott Hotel before joining Hotel du Vin 15 years ago as chef de partie and working my way up to head chef.
What do you eat when at home?
I don’t really have a ‘go-to’ dish at home but one of my all-time favourites is my homemade lasagne! It’s the perfect comfort food that’s both hearty and delicious.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
I think Pierre Koffmann is the best chef in the world. He was one of a handful of chefs in the UK to have been awarded the coveted three Michelin stars at his restaurant La Tante Claire in London. He has also trained some of our greatest chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Tom Kitchin. Closer to home, there’s no question about it ¬– Glynn Purnell is the best in Brum.
Is the customer always right?
Share a cooking tip
Always try to use fresh ingredients that are local to you. All of the produce we use at Hotel du Vin has been produced less than an hour’s drive away.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
I may have been captivated by cooking from a young age, but I do always remember being a big fan of Bernard Matthews turkey drumsticks as a kid!
Food heaven and food hell?
I have a sweet tooth and chocolate is my food heaven. When it comes to hell, I have never liked beetroot.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
As someone who’s been on the food scene for a long time, I’m no longer easily surprised by unusual dishes. One thing I have tried is an ostrich burger. Needless to say, it’s not going to making an appearance on the bistro’s menu anytime soon…
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I have always had an interest in music and would quite like to think that maybe I’d be a DJ or even a music producer.
Try Greg’s amazing recipe for Crispy Gressingham Duck Salad, Radish, Carrot, Watercress, Soy Sesame & Stratford Honey Dressing
Ingredients for 4 Portions:
- 2 legs Female duck legs
- ½ bunch Radish
- 1 bunch Watercress
- 1 carrot
- 10g White sesame seeds
- 50ml Dark Soy sauce
- 100g Stratford honey
- 1 thumb Root Ginger
- 10ml Cider vinegar
- ½ Red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
- Prep duck for confit by cutting through the skin on the leg bone and salt the skin and flesh
- Cling film and leave overnight
- Wash salt off
- Confit legs @ 110 for 2hrs or until meat is ready to come off the bone easily
- Pick meat down into large pieces
- Grate the ginger on a microplane
- For the dressing combine the honey, soy, vinegar, ginger and chilli in a pan and bring to the boil
- Peel the carrot and cut on a mandolin using the fine teeth cutter
- Slice radish on mandolin and keep in cold water
- Crisp duck meat in a little confit oil
- Build salad with watercress, carrot, radish and duck meat
- Plate on Starter Plate
- Dress with soy dressing and finish with toasted sesame