Words of Advice ~ Aiden Byrne

This post in our series of  ‘5 Questions’ comes from the person who is still reputedly still the youngest person to be awarded a Michelin star. Many years have  past by and  Mr Byrne has since worked in many profiled kitchens, Peacock Alley, Danesfield House, Pied a Terre, Tom Aikens & The Grill at The Dorchester Hotel since then.

He left The Dorchester in January 2009 to buy The Village Green Pub in Lymm, Cheshire. Located on the fringes of the footballer rich area of south Cheshire / Greater Manchester. The Village Green soon rose to prominence with appearances on television from Mr Byrne and during his appearance on the 2008 ‘Great British Menu’ he coined the phrase

I lost a bit of sleep last night

which the media seem to latch on to. Although not currently a Michelin star holder and having not held one since 2002, Mr Byrne has stated his ambition of

4 AA Rosettes and a Michelin star

for his latest venture ‘Aiden Byrne at Hillbark (which we named ahead of most people)  in conjunction with Contessa Hotels, where he seems to spend the majority of his time Monday to Friday with the weekend at Church Green.

1.   What would be your best piece of advice for a fresh face school leaver who is obsessed with ‘Food Porn’ looking to get into the industry?

This job is a long and arduous journey and there is probably more down times than there is up, so take a long and serious thought about if you want to commit all of your life and social time to your career. If so, find a chef that you admire, ask him/her can you do a placement in their kitchen (1 day in college and the rest in the kitchen) if not offer your services for free until they give in.

2.   What qualities are you looking for in your more junior chefs when recruiting new staff?

Common sense over and above anything else. But the will to do a good job, take orders from all in the kitchen, as it is not a nice place to be, (the bottom of the food chain) and pride in themselves.

3.   Would you recommend that staff do stages & how do people get to do a stage with you?

I didn’t take advantage of “the stage” when I was younger. I think it is a fantastic way to understand how other kitchens work, which can be very important when you are building your own kitchen, even if you only take one small idea, it has been worth it. Simply send an email to Aidenbyrne@thechurchgreen.co.uk

4.   In light of the recent death of a young chef through excessive hours (on average 100+ per week, for multiple weeks – See our post), does the industry need to change & what changes have you made to reflect this in your own kitchens?

At our new place “Aiden Byrne at Hillbark” we are very fortunate that we are open Monday – Friday and closed for 5 weeks of the year so all the staff are of at the same time, making for a very fresh faced team. A small brigade is what we have at The Church Green and we are very much like a family. Taking your staff for granted is showing a huge lack of respect and that is something that I most certainly do not do, never have and never will.

5.   Do you think that the media (in particular television) have raised the profile of the industry in a positive way?

I have a contradicted opinion on this, I am all for exposure as a business man and no doubt with out the media, my job at CG would have been more difficult, so for selfish reasons i applaud it. On the other hand it seems to have developed a less committed chef coming into the industry, there seems to be more people dropping out because when they realise that it’s not as easy as it looks on TV.

6 Responses to “Words of Advice ~ Aiden Byrne”
  1. Louis says:

    Nice insight – interesting at his response to the last question, although I don’t particularly see that as a problem, just means that those who are truly dedicated will rise to the top regardless.

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    thanks for sharing. your site is very interesting!

  3. Antonio Giacolone says:

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Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] have come from chefs who are predominantly Michelin starred. There have been exceptions to the rule Aiden Byrne, Andrew Turner, Jason Atherton & Nathan Outlaw (at the time, now has 2 stars). They were […]

  2. […] In the series of posts called ‘5Questions’ I have been really fortunate to have lots of high profile chefs take part for which I’m immensely grateful. But while guide book recognition may do wonders for a restaurant booking diary, it isn’t a barometer for a post’s success. The most successful post after the nonexistent Good Food Guide post is Johnnie Mountain’s ‘5Questions’. Up until recently Johnnie was on Twitter and he was quite forthright in his views, which most of the time would probably require an 18 certificate. But his thoughts obviously struck a chord with chefs and rocketed his post to the top of the viewing stats. I’ll put this into context, he has 4 times as many views as his arch rival & Great British Menu nemesis Aiden Byrne. […]

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