The chef and founder of award-winning street food business Flying Cows, Dan Batchelor, tells us we’ve got his mum to thank for sparking the cooking bug and how he likes nothing more than tucking into veggies at home
Tell us about your cooking
I like to do restaurant-style dishes in burger form, so classic big flavours in a burger.
How did you become a chef?
I started cooking in the local pub aged 15 and I just loved the atmosphere in the kitchen. I moved to London for a while and when I came back I worked at Simpsons in Kenilworth and then in Birmingham when it moved to Edgbaston under Luke Tipping. I left and did various things including opening my own restaurant but that didn’t go so well.
I started doing farmers’ markets before the street food scene really kicked off and when Digbeth Dining Club took off I got involved. I’ve a lot to thank founders Jack Brabant and James Swinburne for. They gave me loads of help and support. Street food is completely different to being in a restaurant setting. No two events are the same and you meet really nice people. There’s a freedom it gives you, too.
What do you eat when at home?
Funnily enough a lot of vegetarian food – risotto, pasta, curries. Cooking meat for weeks on end means I’m ready for some veg at home.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
It’s a tough one, but probably Gordon Ramsay. There are loads of chefs I look up to, but Ramsay springs to mind. In Brum, I have to say Luke Tipping as he was my boss! Brad Carter’s pretty good though and I met Glynn Purnell last month and he’s pretty nice, so we’re spoilt for choice.
Is the customer always right?
Yes. My dad always said the customer is king and I agree with that.
Share a cooking tip
Just season really well. A little salt can absolutely transform a dish.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Cake! My mum is a very good cook and I used to love baking cakes with her as a child.
Food heaven and food hell?
Heaven would be wild mushrooms simply fried. I love them. Hell would be raisins.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Probably something like sheep’s intestines. I’m not keen on offal.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
What do you recommend from your menu?
I’d go for the burger that won the British Street Food award – the Truffle Boy. It’s a steak burger with smoked streaky bacon and black truffle mayo.