For the third time in the row, Anderson’s has been chosen the “Restaurant of the Year” (West Midlands) at 2017 Food Awards England. We talked to the restaurant’s owner, Dan Anderson, about his passion for food, successful business and knowledge about gastronomy in this interview. Enjoy it!
Midlands Trade: How did your interest to the restaurant business start?
Dan Anderson: I’ve been in kitchens for 25 years now, from the age of 14, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best chefs over the years from the UK and abroad, I’ve always loved the buzz of service, the fine line you have to walk during each day. It keeps you on your toes!
So, it was a natural thing for a young chef to want to have my own restaurant one day, the circumstances surrounding me owning my own restaurant was totally out of the blue so I had the sweetest of gifts…ignorance!
MD: What is unique about Anderson’s?
DA: We have always prided ourselves with being accessible to our clients without sacrificing quality and service.
We opened Anderson’s in the middle of one of the worst financial crises of modern times, so with the economic and political climate at that time we wanted to run a business that was based on a simple idea, everyone dines in our home, treat your clients as you would wish to be treated in theirs.
MD: How do you see the gastronomic scene in Birmingham?
DA: I’m probably going to get told off for this! I think over the last 4 years Birmingham has seen a huge lift in investment and capital being spent commercially and domestically, so it has been great to see Birmingham grow and flourish with new restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
But unfortunately, the prime locations have been sucked up by huge chain and non-independent entities. There seems to be very little support for the independent operator, which is a shame to see.
MD: What are your tips for running a successful restaurant?
DA: I shall make this short as I could babble on about this! Devil in the detail…always. And don’t get complacent, always look forward and on how to improve.
MD: What is your business philosophy?
DA: Always remember that all the ethics of any type of business are the same. It’s the mind-set you put yourself in which will make the difference to that business.
MD: For those visiting Anderson’s for the first time, what would you recommend trying?
DA: All of it!
MD: What is the biggest challenge in running one of the best independent steak houses in town?
DA: I think the biggest challenge is keeping the standards high and consistent; keeping your team motivated and the client happy. But that said, that is the business we are in!
MD: What is the importance of being chosen, for the third time in a row, as the “Restaurant of the Year” (West Midlands) at the 2017 Food Awards England?
DA: I think it shows we have that consistency of high standards, especially as the award is voted for by the public. I never expected that we would win for a third time, it’s a true testament to my team, without whom the restaurant would not be in the position it is now.
MD: What are the next steps for Anderson’s?
DA: We are in the midst of starting our own kitchen garden! This December, we will be receiving some rare and forgotten varieties of fruit trees which are on the Ark of Taste list, (the list shows endangered fruit, vegetables and food products within the UK) – all as part of the ‘Slow Food’ movement. We will then be gradually growing all sorts of wild and forgotten produce!
We are now able to finish and age some of our own rare and native breeds of beef in our Himalayan salt dry ageing chamber! And we are proud to be sourcing beef directly from Highgrove Farm through David Wilson (HRH the Prince of Wales’ Farm Manager), Richard Vaughan from Huntsham Court Farm as well as dealing directly with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
So, we have lots going on! We would also love to open another Anderson’s Bar and Grill so in 2018, we will be looking for locations!