Hall of Fame: Adam’s Restaurant
We Interview long time friend, Adam Stokes of Adams Restaurant

Raised on ‘real’ home-grown food and a love for bringing others happiness with a good meal, Adam Stokes has carried his passion for quality and care in the culinary industry throughout his career, from the early days until now in his Michelin star restaurant.

Full of flavour and unique ideas, from Asian twists to his signature creative ‘snacks’, Adam’s offers dishes prepared with love and a deep respect for the perfect sensory balance, complete with Studio William cutlery from the Olive range.

We’re thrilled to be able to introduce you to one of our favourite chefs, on a personal level, with revealing insight into his passion for food and the inspiration behind his critically acclaimed menus…

Q & A

You were raised with an understanding of ‘real’ food. Home-grown vegetables and a family who loved to eat well. Is this what drew you to the culinary world, initially? And does this still inspire your menu today?

Most definitely, I was surrounded by quality food and from a very early age, I knew what good quality food tasted like, especially vegetables, which we always got from my father’s allotment.

I love eating! It’s my passion and hobby. I also like to overindulge on seasonal offerings as the months flow past. After Asparagus has been in season for a while my wife Natasha is sick and tired of it! But that is the beauty of eating the seasons: you get the best flavours you can from the food. This does reflect on the current menu and range of foods that are showcased.

Once you got into a professional kitchen, what spurred you on to turn it into your career?

The catering industry is a superb industry. When you’re willing to give it your all, it can be so rewarding in return. It does have its challenges, but once you get on board and into the same mindset as others around you there is so much fun to be had.

I had a turbulent education and found that if I was interested in something I would apply myself 100%, but also vice versa if I wasn't! When it came to cooking, I just fell in love with it. Being able to create different tastes, textures and temperatures through processes of Physics, Biology and Chemistry was fascinating! It’s also such a great feeling when you see how much happiness what you’ve made brings to the diner.

And how has that changed? What do you love about it now?

Still the same sort of feeling as when I started out and now others too. As I develop and change so do my goals and interests in other areas to gain a complete overview of the restaurant industry. Obviously, when training, it was purely food-led but now it is also some of the other factors that complete the whole restaurant experience for me.

How would you describe your style of cooking?

My food is purely flavour driven. I enjoy combining a range of ingredients that come together to please all the senses in the mouth: sweet, salty, sour, umami and bitter. If a dish has these flavours and they marry together perfectly, then the dish is complete and therefore extremely satisfying to the diner.

Are there any essential ingredients couldn’t you live without?

Salt and lemon juice! These are the ingredients that allow you to build and develop flavours out of other ingredients.

The foods that are at the top of my tree for use in the kitchen are Langoustines and Veal Sweetbreads. If they are on the menu when I’m eating out I will always order them.

Are your menus inspired by anything else, outside the kitchen?

Small elements of food trends and dining styles come into consideration when I’m compiling a menu, to ensure they are in-line with the guest's needs and wants.

Only six months after opening your two-year pop-up restaurant you receive a Michelin star! Was this a shock? Did it alter your future plans?

When we opened up in Birmingham I knew the style of restaurant I wanted to produce was going to be in-line with the style of restaurant that Michelin has awarded stars to before.

We were pleasantly surprised to see them in the restaurant and then really happy when the guide came out! We were so pleased it happened that quickly, but then after that, the plan was still the same: to work towards the permanent restaurant that we are in today.

As for more future plans, nothing as yet. We’re just trying to hone this restaurant to ensure the guests are getting the best experience possible.

As a Studio William fan, you may already know that all of our ranges are inspired by trees. What is your favourite tree and why?

I love olives, to eat and to cook with so I would say my favourite tree must be Olive! The Studio William cutlery we use is also the Olive range.

What makes a good chef great?

Passion, hard work and dedication. I also think it takes a real element of training to become a well-rounded chef. So many chefs these days want to get to the top as soon as possible when in reality, quality training will take the chef much further in their career in the long run.

We love all of your food presentation, but we’re particularly taken with the creative ‘snacks’ we’ve seen featured on Instagram! What’s the story behind these?
They are designed to be an exciting start to the meal: small tastes of big flavours to get the senses going. They are served in different stages to give that feeling of opulence and even an almost overwhelming feeling. It really is a great start to the meal.

Do you have any hobbies that you feel impacts your Chefing style or technique?

Eating! I try and eat out as much as possible. When I do, I am looking for well-sourced ingredients prepared to perfection to release their full potential and a balance of flavour – nothing over-complicating the dish. The Hospitality industry is my career and thankfully it is my hobby too.

Aside from the ingredients, what else do you think affects the flavour of your food?

I think the whole restaurant experience is integral to enhancing the guest’s enjoyment whilst dining but whether or not it affects the flavour of the food I am doubtful. I know that when sitting by the seaside and eating fish the experience is heightened because of the environment, but I don't feel it changes the flavour, just the perception.

Do you have a recipe or signature dish you’re most proud of?

No, not a specific dish because the menu is constantly evolving. It is always being changed or tweaked slightly to try and get the best results.
The constant evolution of dishes is the exciting part of the job - always striving to improve and progress.

You have managed to achieve so much in a relatively short time and momentum is clearly very strong! Do you have any future plans on the horizon that you can share with us?

It has been a great start into our journey in Birmingham and at present, it is just more of the same, which is trying to ensure that all the guests at Adam's are having a wonderful time.

Your plate ware is absolutely lovely - very Japanese to our eye. Along with your sashimi snacks we’re wondering, is Japan somewhere you have an affinity with?

I am fascinated with Asia as a whole. Culinary-wise, introducing Asian flavours into our style of food is bringing a really exciting twist to the menu. Asian ingredients have different levels of depth of flavour and it enables us to enhance our style in a really subtle way.

If you get a chance to get out the kitchen this year, where in the world is the next place you would want to visit and why?

America is at the top of my list. New York, especially as the food, has really developed and progressed to a refined and stylish product. Places like Alinea and Eleven Madison Park are restaurants with huge creative concepts and really are ‘Destination Dining’ restaurants.

What is your favourite season? What is your favourite season to cook in?

The Winter is always an exciting time. It is when all the game becomes available with Grouse, Partridges, Hares and Pheasants and also root vegetables, with their strong and hearty flavours. Some chefs overlook this season but I love to embrace it and showcase what I think is natures best larder.

When you get the chance, where do you like to eat out?

It really depends on my mood but the underlining factor remains: the food has to produced with love and care. Even when it comes to burgers, I want one that is made with rare breed meat and accurately cooked. I also like going to places where the menu is not too big, where are able to concentrate fully on the select items on the menu.

Why did you choose Studio William for your restaurant?
I feel Adam’s and Studio William share some similarities. My food is good quality and natural in shape, whilst being elegant and refined in presentation, just like the cutlery. All in all, a good fit.
- Adam Stokes

Do you have any special dietary requirements, and if so how does that affect the dishes you choose to create for your restaurant?

Personally, I don't but at the restaurant, we cater for all dietary requirements. We have a Vegetarian and a Vegan menu but we don't use much butter or cream in our cooking anyway. We can and do tailor the dishes around specific allergies or dislikes. We are pretty flexible.

Adams Restraurant use Olive Mirror Cutlery

Bring a little piece of Adam’s dining experience into your own home with the Studio William Olive range…