'I am sick and tired of having this pseudo local press that rags on independent business'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Alex Claridge, chef and owner of award-winning restaurant, The Wilderness, has kicked back at local publication, Birmingham Live, for misleadingly reporting on his restaurant remaining closed until september.

The chef posted about the article in question, headlined 'Jewellery Quarter restaurant which crowdfunded £28K won't reopen on July 4,' with the subhead 'The Wilderness has told supporters that it will 'not be re-opening anytime soon' in order to come back with 'big dreams.'

He called it out for not only linking the fact that it was launched in part thanks to a kickstart from its fans, but for implying that the restaurant wasn't reopening until September out of choice. 

Referring to a previous incident, in which the publication linked a tongue-in-cheek promotional video for Nocturnal Animals showing the chef yielding a fake firearm, to gun violence in the Midlands capital, he said: "The same publication that left my mum in tears when they tried to link me to gun violence is at it again." 

He added that while the publication implied "some sort of fluffy, floppy need for self-growth and timeout," if he had "been offered the courtesy of comment," he would have explained that it is impossible for The Wilderness to reopen under the guiddelines set out by government on Tuesday. 

"The measures outlined for July 4 reopening are not viable nor practical for a restaurant of our size, and, yes, we are going to use this extended closure to grow and develop (what else?) but their article makes scant mention of the very real challenges we face to get back." 

Remarking that he has never been contacted directly by the publication for comment, and that the article in question was based only on the below post, he said: "I understand the challenges for the media to evolve in a digital age, and I understand that click-bait pays the bills but as I have come to expect from said publication, this is more shoddy journalism and editorial malpractice."

The chef took the opportunity to commend other local publications, such as IchooseBirmingham, Independdent Birmingham, Birmingham Updates "and many more," and said: "I am sick and tired of having this pseudo local press that rags on independent business; as a city, we deserve so much better than the gutter-tripe on offer at Birmingham Live." 



We, like so many others in our industry, watched today’s announcements with baited breath. I am delighted that for some of our peers, they finally have a route to re-opening. I have missed restaurants and pubs dearly, and it brings me great joy that we can look forward to some semblance of normality in the near future. That said, it is with a heaviness, I can confirm that we will not be re-opening our restaurant anytime soon. I am optimistic for our industry, for the first time in a long time, but cautious as to the detail around what “measures” will be required and how viable they make business – I wish the very best of luck to those jumping in the deep end. I feel a great sense of duty to return from this closure better, more focused, more delicious – to deliver The Wilderness we have always wanted. Accordingly, we intend to remain closed until September. During this time we will be developing new menus, new experiences and a brand new restaurant fit-out to elevate our humble home to something befitting the ambition of this small little restaurant with big dreams. We intend – Boris allowing – to re-open with much new and renewed joy on 2nd September and reservations are now available to book until 19th December. For those who cannot wait to get their fix, we will continue our home food experience through out July (with the next order release date on 5th July) and, with great excitement, I can announce two takeovers of the iconic Rotunda in partnership with our friends at Staying Cool at the Rotunda. Both nights stand to be a unique twist on staying in and I very much hope you will join us if you can. For more information follow the link in our bio 🤘🏼

A post shared by The Wilderness (@thewildernessrestaurant) on


While The Wilderness will remain closed until September, as mentioned in the above post the chef will be hosting two pop-up events at The Rotunda in July and August.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 25th June 2020

'I am sick and tired of having this pseudo local press that rags on independent business'