Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Alex Claridge, Central heat

Shelly Cameron

Shelly Cameron

Social Media Manager

Ahead of Great British Menu heading to our screens this month, The Staff Canteen is introducing the competition’s contestants!

Alex Claridge is the chef-owner of The Wilderness in Birmingham.

Known for his shamelessly honest approach, Alex is known for not mincing his words. This bold personality is reflected in his food; it's irreverent, outrageous and unique.

"At the risk of sounding proper fucking soppy, I quite like the fact that food is universal - you don't need to speak English to understand good food and that ability to bring people together is a really big thing for me."



Alex can neither confirm nor deny his involvement with @gbchefs 👀 #greatbritishmenu

A post shared by The Wilderness (@thewildernessrestaurant) on


Music was Alex's first love. His band recorded an album when he was 18 and he hated it so much that he quit music and sold his guitars. When he was looking for a new, creative hobby, he found cooking.

Unorthodoxly, he hadn't worked in many restaurants before opening The Wilderness, citing "bistros, cafes, pubs across Birmingham, Manchester, London" and "some stages and bits and bobs in Los Angeles" as his work experience.

His advice for aspiring chefs? "Give fewer fucks, make mistakes, learn as much as you can. Don't sweat the small stuff, no one gets out alive."

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Shelly Cameron

Shelly Cameron

Social Media Manager 5th March 2020

Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Alex Claridge, Central heat