Kray Treadwell: 'I don’t think there is anything as ballsy as us in Birmingham'

Cara Houchen

He’s already the Michelin Guide UK’s One to Watch even though the opening of his first solo venture took place as the pandemic first hit.

But despite the challenges the whole industry has faced, Kray Treadwell prefers to take the positives from the situation as he focuses on the future of 670 Grams in Birmingham.


Kray is no stranger to Michelin, having previously worked at Purnell’s and The Man Behind the Curtain – although thrilled to have received the One To Watch award, it has caused a  little confusion among diners.

"It was nice to get,” he explained. “But it’s a weird thing as people think we got a star. They’ll say ‘congratulations’ and I have to say we didn’t actually get a star.”  

Any accolade is a boost, is a Michelin star the next one on the cards?

“Hopefully! We weren’t intending to get a star and there are a lot of places in Birmingham which should probably get a star before us. 

“I do think people are a bit bored of going to places with white tablecloths and opera music. I do enjoy it, but it can get a bit boring – it can be long too, sometimes you can be there for four hours. 

“Here, you still get the quality with the wine and food but it’s chilled and you can be yourself.” 

He added: “It’s the perfect place for anyone young and new to the industry to come. It’s a good place to start for young people and who are into food. I went to The Fat Duck when I was 17 and I was petrified. Certain restaurants can be intimidating. 

“On the flipside, we can be too relaxed for some people!”

670 Grams

With just 12 seats, the team at 670 Grams do 16 covers per sitting, and Kray was adamant he wanted it to be in Digbeth, as ‘there’s nothing else like this around here’.

“To be honest,” he laughed. “It’s all we could afford! I always wanted to do as little amount of covers as possible but I didn’t intend to have it this small.”

Originally from Birmingham he said, ‘it’s nice to be home’, adding: “There’s a lot of competition in Birmingham and when I opened I didn’t realise how much there was! I think food has blown up here over the past two or three years.” 

Pandemic opening

The hospitality industry has had a tough 18 months. Covid has brought challenges no one expected to face and those challenges are constantly evolving into new ones as we move through the pandemic. 

But Kray is pretty optimistic, he said: “It hasn’t been that bad to be fair, we’ve been full every single day. Even the second lockdown, despite being a hinderance, helped us.

"We went straight in with no soft launch, just bang, bang, bang every day. The lockdown gave us time to reflect so I think it’s a lot better now than if we hadn’t had the lockdown.

“We’ve never had a normal restaurant due to working with all the restrictions, we’ve found that people are scared. We get emails every day asking if the restaurant is safe but once they are here, I think they forget, and we try to make it feel normal.”

Food style

There are obvious influences from previous places of work, Michael O’Hare’s The Man Behind the Curtain being an obvious one, and Kray admits in the beginning when he first opened ‘it did look more like Michael’s food, but now, he laughs: “If you put a plate from each restaurant down together, one Michael’s would look much better, but you wouldn’t think they were from the same restaurant.

“I think I’ll always get compared and it’s not a bad comparison, but I do want to try and break away from that for Michael and for myself.” 


Clearly excited about both his food and the restaurant itself he said: “I don’t think there is anything as ballsy as us in Birmingham, in terms of the food and our grime and hip hop soundtrack and our ethos. There are a lot of great restaurants here, but they are more polished than us.” 

Being in charge….of everything

It’s one thing being accomplished as a chef, creating food at the top of your game is obviously a necessity to be recognised by your peers, but running your own business is a different challenge all together.

“It’s hard – I find managing people really difficult, it’s so small in here so there is no where to hide if anything goes wrong. If any of the team have a disagreement, it’s tough to make sure that doesn’t create an atmosphere in the restaurant.” 

Kray added: “Running the business itself is pretty straightforward. I’m enjoying being able to do what I want and not having to put ideas forward to somebody else.”  


Kray has hired and lost five people in just the few months hospitality has been back open. He shares the mood among all hospitality businesses looking to recruit at the moment.

“The staff issue is a joke; I’ve never seen anything like it. We advertised for a sommelier before we first opened, and we still haven’t had a single application.

“It’s more front of house for us, chefs aren’t a problem. I think people have just chosen new career paths which offer more normal hours. Everyone is going to have to change, I think what L’Enclume are doing is great. They have a rota which works around everyone’s circumstances.” 

While the idea of being so flexible is appealing Kray said ‘everything costs money’, and they don’t actually need a big team so ‘financially it wouldn’t work’. Demand for higher wages is also proving hiring difficult for smaller restaurants.

“I had someone come for a restaurant manager's job and he wanted 45 grand. I said ‘so ‘do I’!”

Inside 670 Grams


“We’re just going to carry on doing what we are doing, I don’t look at 2021 negatively – as long as we are full, and we are open there’s not really much to worry about. 

“But the industry has got to change if it wants to be appealing; the pay doesn’t equal the hours you are expected to do – staff have been taken for granted for so long and it’s not right. I don’t know what the answer is though.

“My team do around 55 hours a week which isn’t too bad and get three days off. Change is down to us as employers; if Covid has taught us anything it’s that we’ve been greedy and there is a lot more we can do for employees.”

So, what’s the future for Kray and 670 Grams, would he open more or is one enough?

“I wouldn’t like more restaurants; I’d have a bigger place, but I still want small covers... and somewhere to put the blue roll that’s not the boot of my car!”

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Cara Houchen

Cara Houchen

Editor 9th September 2021

Kray Treadwell: 'I don’t think there is anything as ballsy as us in Birmingham'