This month we chat with King of the food critics Paul Fulford and find out what makes him tick.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
My name is Paul Fulford and for more than 20 years I worked as a journalist on the Birmingham Mail, most of that time as its restaurant critic. It was fantastic to witness first-hand the development of our city from a culinary backwater to its stature today as one of the country’s great dining destinations. This summer, I launched a food and drink website (paulfulford.co.uk) and I’m also offering PR and consultancy services to the hospitality industry. Loving it!
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
One of the glories of being self-employed is being able to work from home, so no daily rush-hour commute. When I have meetings in town (and there are lots) I jump on the No.50 bus, which is frequent, fast and not too unpleasant if you don’t mind discarded drinks cans rolling round your feet.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Absolutely. I’m a Brummie born and bred and have always loved the city’s ‘can do’ attitude and the welcoming nature of its population. But these days there’s a sense of vibrancy about the place that I don’t think I’ve known since the 1960s… yeah, I know, hard to believe I’m THAT old!
I love any of the independent coffee shops, particularly York’s. Why would anyone wish to line the pockets of a giant chain when they could support a local business with a real commitment to quality?
A pint and a Scotch egg at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen in Waterloo Street – beer and pub grub as it should be. Sometimes I treat myself to the lunchtime menu at one of Brum’s best restaurants – the lunchtime deals at high-end restaurants like Simpsons provide great value.
I manage to keep in shape – just about – by running… slowly. I’ve done a couple of marathons and a few half-marathons. Running provides a good space for thinking as well as burning up all the calories from eating and drinking out so much.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I adore the Jewellery Quarter. So many fabulous buildings and great small, quirky businesses. Such a shame that we didn’t preserve more of our heritage over the post-war decades. I’m also a big fan of the hustle and bustle of the markets. #
I much prefer to change into my jeans, slump on a chair at home and open a good bottle of red wine with something savoury to nibble. That said, I’ve been known to pop into the Prince of Wales in Moseley for a swift one.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Let’s concentrate more on supporting small, independent businesses, especially in the food and drink industry, that offer diversity and interest to our city. For too long the council has obsessed about bringing big names to Brum. Let’s begin backing our own.