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Notes from the Kitchen with Glynn Purnell

Glynn Purnell started cooking professionally from the age of 14, when he took on a work placement at the Metropole Hotel at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. As his career flourished, the talented chef often dubbed the “Yummy Brummie,” went on to work at Simpsons Restaurant and Jessica’s in Edgbaston – the first Birmingham restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2005.

His namesake, Purnell’s was opened In 2007 and was awarded its first Michelin star in 2009, as well as being named AA Restaurant of the Year. Glynn has trained under top chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Gary Rhodes and has gone on to become a household name after appearing on the Great British Menu and BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

Hi Glynn, lovely to chat to you! So, tell us about your introduction into the hospitality industry and where it all started?

I’ve been part of the hospitality industry since the age of 14, and I am now the ripe old age of 46. So how long is that… 32 years! That can’t be right…! I did a work experience placement at the age of 14- a couple of weeks working in the kitchen of a hotel, and I absolutely loved it. They offered me a part time job, which then somehow snowballed into what I’m doing today… with this grey beard and constant look of pain upon my face!

Tell us about how covid affected your own restaurant business and how much of an impact it has had on trade?

Covid just crushed the business, really. It literally wiped out 12 months of business out of the last 15 months. Cash flow dried up, savings went to zero. If it wasn’t for the furlough scheme and business rates exemption, then Purnell’s probably would have gone under. I still had to pay the rent, which I did by drawing on a few other bits and pieces, and I’m thankfully still here to tell the tale.

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