British chef Brian Turner was interested in the F&B business since he was a child, jokingly saying his father probably “injected him with lard”.
He told Caterer Middle East that when his father returned from the Second World War, he opened a café and that was the beginning of Turner’s passion for the industry.
Since then, Turner has had a long and varied career, training at hotels and restaurants such as Simpson’s in the Strand, The Savoy, The Beau Rivage in Lausanne and Claridge’s.
In 1971 he opened the kitchens of The Capital Hotel with Richard Shepherd where they won a Michelin star. In 1986 he opened his own restaurant Turner’s in Walton Street, Chelsea. He opened restaurants in Birmingham and Slough and in 2003 at The Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. Now he has Turner’s in Butlins, Bognor Regis.
He is also president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts which he has combined with a successful career as a TV personality. Having been on the first ever Ready Steady Cook show, Turner served 14-and-a-half years on the programme as and has made appearances on other UK television shows, including This Morning, Saturday Kitchen, Daily Cooks Challenge, to name just a few.
In June 2002 in the Queen’s birthday honours list, Turner was awarded a CBE for his services to tourism and training in the catering industry.
Turner was in the UAE in October 2016 to host a series of dinners sponsored by table top products supplier Steelite and its local distributor A. Ronai, and we spoke to him while he was in the kitchen, creating his dishes for the first of these dinners.
Watching him work in the kitchen, it was clear that his passion for food and ingredients is as strong as ever; what keeps him going, we asked?
He said: “That depends on the day, and part of it is that there’s so much happening. You meet wonderful people, you eat wonderful food, drink wonderful wine, and go to marvellous places. What’s not to like, and how can you choose one over the other? You can’t, can you? It’s an industry of opportunity.”
So he tells hopeful chefs to first decide that it is definitely the business they want to enter.
“It is a hard business to get into and to stay in, so you need to be sure it’s for you and not pretend that it is for you. When you know it’s for you, it’s easier to deal with, in my opinion.
“Another bit of advice is: never look at the clock when you’re in the kitchen. The minute that starts happening — go and do something else. You have to very much be prepared to give your all,” he added.
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