The newly-crowned Michelin Young Chef of the Year, Kray Treadwell, opened the doors to his 670 Grams restaurant between lockdowns 1 and 2. While winning accolades wasn’t high on the agenda, he’s understandably cock-a-hoop at the recognition he’s received
Tell us about your food
The restaurant scene in Birmingham is great and outside London, better than any city, but if you want to eat fantastic food without paying £120 for a tasting menu, well, there’s a bit of a gap. It’s the middle ground that’s lacking. We’re offering an affordable experience that’s a bit different and customers are happy. I want people my age to be able to come here and eat great food affordably. My style is quite unique. Flavour obviously comes first, but presentation is really important. I like to build the colours up on the plate. There are no swipes across white crockery. It’s a bit different. It’s food that people like to eat and there are no unusual ingredients for the hell of it.
How did you become a chef?
I started washing pots at the Asquith in Edgbaston under Glynn Purnell when I was 15. I did that for a year then Jason Eaves took on the Asquith and I started doing more and more. Initially I just worked weekends then started going after school too and got more into it. My family didn’t really get cheffing. They couldn’t understand why I was working 70 hours a week for £600. They work traditional nine-to-five jobs. It was only when I was on TV they understood!
What do you eat at home?
Takeaways! Peri chicken with wraps and loads of sauces from Peri Lick on Coventry Road.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
Best in the world is Albert Adria from El Bulli. Everyone credits Heston Blumenthal with transforming cooking and pushing it to another level, but it was Adria. In Brum, it’s got to be Glynn Purnell for all that he’s achieved. It’s harder to be consistent once you’re well known, but he’s managed it.
How is your restaurant adapting to the pandemic?
We’re in a better position than a lot of restaurants. The pandemic delayed our opening last year from June to August which meant we had time to ensure every detail was absolutely perfect. Also, the restaurant is small, so rent and staffing bills are minimal. If you’re a 40-seat restaurant this is crippling. We aren’t entitled to grants or loans because we don’t have 12 months trading behind us, but we have benefited from the furlough scheme which has been great. We’ve also started doing At-Home boxes. We’ve done six so far and they’ve all sold out. We’re using it as opportunity to play around with menus. Each box has been different. To win the Young Chef of the Year award was a nice thing to happen in lockdown too. I had no expectations this year. Michelin gave me the nod four days before the announcement. Awards aren’t everything, but it’s just a nice thing to have.
Share a cooking tip
Don’t worry if your vegetables aren’t chopped the same.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Mini chocolate Weetabix. I think it’s because I was only allowed it at certain times, so it made me love it more.
Food heaven and food hell?
Food heaven is grade 5 wagyu beef and food hell is white asparagus – it tastes even more like piss than the green stuff.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
A footballer. You’ve got to dream.