Weekend Kitchen Hero Profile - Glynn Purnell
The inventive additions to the meals he prepared for his younger brother and sister laid the foundations for a career cooking food packed with personality
As a boy, Glynn Purnell would be left to cook for younger siblings Gemma and Gareth, while his parents and older sister Gaynor were at work.
One of Glynn’s first dishes was beans on toast, but his flair for flavour meant these were no ordinary beans. Instead they were mixed with onions and curry powder, and topped with cheese. Soup was also modified with grated cheese in the bottom of the bowl.
‘That was a winner,’ he writes in his book Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales (Kyle Books, £19.99). ‘I thought I was a genius – and so did my brother and sister.’
At 14, Purnell began washing up and making salads for a Birmingham hotel before moving to Simpsons restaurant in Kenilworth. While Glynn was there Simpsons gained a Michelin star and he ended up with a tattoo of the Michelin man on his leg!
From there his young talent got him invited to join Claude Bosi as a sous chef at Hibiscus in Ludlow, working 18 hours a day, six days a week, before becoming head chef at Jessica’s in Sutton Coldfield.
Four years later, Purnell knew that he was ready for a place of his own.
‘I woke up one day and said to my partner Kerry: “We’re going it alone”,’ he recalls. ‘Her face dropped because this was the first time in our lives together that we had been able to live comfortably. We had finally got a little
house of our own and our first child Oliver was two years old.
‘I took 20 grand out of my house, raided my piggy bank, smashed my credit cards and went to the bank.’
In 2007, Glynn opened Purnell’s in Cornwall Street, Birmingham. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2009.
Glynn has already made a number of TV appearances, including BBC Two’s Great British Menu and Great British Food Revival and BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen.