Peter Jackson

The head chef of the new Wildmoor Oak gastropub, Peter Jackson, lived off chips as a fussy-eating youngster – but University College Birmingham and the likes of Purnell’s and Simpsons changed all that!

Tell us about your cooking

I’m really just about natural cooking that’s honest, not fussy and or too complicated. Things like cooking meat and fish on the bone. Cooking with three ingredients, but ingredients that are simple, really good quality ones. Easy-going and relatable food. I sometimes say I cook from the hip – I put great, simple ingredients in a pan and make it the best I can.

How did you become a chef?

I was a pot-wash at school and used to work evenings. I thought chefs were rockstars. I was quite fussy when I was younger and didn’t really eat very much of anything. But when I did start trying food, it really opened my eyes to what food was and it really interested me. It sparked my passion. I went on to study at University College Birmingham and had some great stages in places like Purnell’s and Simpsons before getting the chance to work under chef Lionel Levy at the Hotel InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu. That was an amazing time and taught me a lot. As did Brad Carter. I wouldn’t be the chef I am today if it wasn’t for him, Glynn Purnell and Luke Tipping – Brummie chefs who I worked with early in my career. They inspired me when younger to go into fine dining and cooking came naturally. Now, I’m always cooking to the best of my ability.

What do you eat at home?

I do love a crumpet, so I’d like to make my own at some point. My favourite topping is scrambled egg. When eating out I love a good pub roast and a good curry.

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?

Very difficult to answer, there are too many! Best in Brum, I can’t answer that – but they know who they are!

Share a cooking tip

If doing a one pot, poach chicken in stock. Remove when cooked and wrap in foil. Throw your veggies in to cook then remove. Reduce the sauce and add spices and then cook with noodles. Add everything back in and serve. Great for sharing and minimal washing-up.

What was your favourite food as a kid?

I was very fussy. I pretty much lived off chips for most of my youth!

Food heaven and food hell?

Food heaven would be a custard slice and a whole pot of tea. Hell is Heinz baked beans.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?

Ants at Carters! Tasted great though… but they are ants!

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

Probably unemployed. There’s nothing else I would want to be doing! That said, I would have loved to have been a fighter pilot. Maybe, in my next life…

The Wildmoor Oak, Top Road, Wildmoor, Bromsgrove, B61 0RB. Tel: 0121 492 2253,