The man behind the chef: Adam Stokes

The  Staff Canteen



In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2015 at The Hospitality Show, NEC Birmingham on January 19 – 21, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage. We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites!

Adam Stokes, 33, owns Michelin-starred restaurant ‘Adam’s’ in Birmingham. He previously worked at Glenapp Castle in the Mull of Kintyre where his work was also recognised with a star in the Michelin guide. We are delighted that one of Britain’s finest young chefs will be joining us for The Staff Canteen Live in January.

What made you want to be a part of The Staff Canteen Live?

The Staff Canteen is very well respected in the industry and it celebrates good quality chefs, good quality talent and good quality food. All chefs have their own individual style and it’s nice to be able to showcase it and hopefully inspire others in the industry.

How big a risk was it when you left Glenapp to open Adam’s in Birmingham?

Of course opening your own business is risky. It still is. We’re 18 months into it, we’re concentrating on what we’re doing, we’ve got our heads down and we’re focusing on our customers. We have to make sure that what we deliver is absolutely second to none.

Why Birmingham? 

We’re Midlanders and we wanted to come closer to home. The gastronomy in Birmingham is fantastic at the moment. It’s really good at all levels: from the street-food scene right up to the Michelin level.

How would you describe the menu at Adam’s restaurant?

We’ve got a modern-British style and like to give it inventive twists. The food is based on familiar flavour marriages. I’m not trying to baffle anyone with strange combinations. I like to let the food do the talking and don’t like to heavily process things. We always try to take a step back to make sure we’re achieving our goal. Quite often we can get caught up in trying to produce a certain style of dish for presentation or technique but, at the end of the day, some of the simplest dishes are often the best.

Do you make an effort to use local ingredients?

We get vegetables from the Worcester area so we do our best. Obviously we’re in the centre of Birmingham so we’re not going to forage herbs from the mailbox. It’s quality first, we don’t import anything. It’s a British restaurant.

How important is your wife Natasha in the day-to-day running of the restaurant?

She’s a very large part of it. She’s very strong and has very good focus. She’s got a clear vision on the direction we want to go in. She’s got a degree in Astrophysics so she’s got a very logical brain. I think it’s a good mix of business and professionalism.

At The Staff Canteen we want to see what makes chefs tick. We asked Adam a few questions about what he gets up to when he’s not in the kitchen: What do you do in your spare time?

I love Formula One and spending time with family. I’ve got a 15-month-old son called Jenson. He’s developing and changing so quickly at the moment so I always try to spend a bit of time with him and my wife Natasha.

What’s one thing you could tell us that nobody else will know?

I used to have 11 points on my driving license.

What was the last album you bought?

I don’t really buy music. I listen to pop music on the radio.

Chocolate or cheese?


Marco or Gordon?


What’s your worst injury or cut in the kitchen?

I’ve been very lucky but I’ve seen a few things. Playing around at the end of service we had a commis who was on a soaking-wet floor, we were cleaning at the time. As a joke, a certain sous chef picked him up and threatened to dry him off on the solid top. Unfortunately he slipped, falling on his back onto the solid top and the chef jacket melted to his back. He was alright, headed to hospital and got it all sorted but it was pretty gruesome.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

I’d love to be a racing driver.

Adam Stokes will be joining us for The Staff Canteen Live at The Hospitality Show in Birmingham, performing on Monday, January 19 at 11:30.

By Tom Evans

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live 2015 at The Hospitality Show here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th November 2014

The man behind the chef: Adam Stokes