It’s a crazy time of year for the hospitality industry, so while she had a spare five minutes, we caught up with the legendary co-founder of Edgbaston’s Chapter restaurant, Irene Allan
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
You know the phrase ‘been round the block a few times’? Well, that pretty much sums me up beautifully. Born in Scotland and lucky enough to have worked at one of Glasgow finest restaurants at the start of my career, the Ubiquitous Chip, spurred me on to greater things! I’ve worked in boutique restaurants and managed some of the big beasts in London before making the move to Birmingham to open Bank in Brindleyplace in 1999. Having helped to kickstart the restaurant revolution in Birmingham it really was time to put your money where your mouth is, resulting in the birth of OPUS on Cornwall Street. I’m now a director and an owner of Chapter, the Edgbaston neighbourhood restaurant and bar which burst onto the scene in December 2021.
IT’S WHAT I DO
As restaurant director, my role encompasses pretty much everything other than cooking! My favourite part is being with customers who are the life blood of our restaurant. Well that and curating the wine list – I do love a glass of vino to boot! I love to organise and as such I deal directly with all private events enquiries and organise special dinners, such as our Burns Supper coming up next year.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
I really do not have many ambitions left, with the exception of a legacy. I’d like to eventually quietly retire from Chapter leaving a magnificent restaurant in the hands of our more than capable senior management team. Those who know me well will know that me doing anything quietly is a big ask!
The life-long friendship with my business partner Ann has to be right up there and helping to create three very successful restaurants in Birmingham which have been early champions of nature-led menus sourcing British produce
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Don’t open a restaurant when an incompetent government is in power…
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I have told this to many people. When I first came to Brum I walked along the canal and a stranger said good morning to me, I knew there and then that I was as close to home as I could possibly be.
I love a good movie and have been a regular visitor to the Electric Cinema for years. And as I previously mentioned, I like a glass of wine too – so special events by the Wine Events Company at the Electric are a must.