Interview: Brian Turner on celebrity chefs and hotels – 1 Mar 2007

In which hotels do you have restaurants?

There’s a Brian Turner Mayfair at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square; a Turner’s Grill at The Copthorne Hotel Slough-Windsor and last July I opened another Turner’s Grill at the Copthorne Hotel in Birmingham.

Why Millennium and Copthorne Hotels?

Like all arranged marriages we felt like we had a lot in common. I got on particularly well with the chief executive officer of the company back in 2003 and we both agreed that what we wanted to serve was good, northern, down-to-earth wholesome food. The Mayfair restaurant opened that same year.

Any more in the pipeline?

In the next two to three years we’re looking to open several more Turner’s Grills. We’re looking at Southampton, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Derby.

Which is your favourite hotel?

It has to be the London property. I have an office in the hotel so I spend a lot of time here.

What benefits does working with a hotel group bring?

Hotels have the investment ability that independents do not have. This means I can concentrate on what I value most and that is good service. From a purely financial perspective it also means you have a captive market each evening.

So what’s your favourite dish on the Turner menu?

It has to be bangers and mash. In the past people wouldn’t dare ask for such a dish, but at the Mayfair it’s one of the most popular meals. Business travellers don’t want a gastronomic extravaganza each evening. They just want good, wholesome food.

How much time do you spend in each of the hotel restaurants?

When the restaurant first opens I dedicate myself to setting it all up and training the chefs. But now the Windsor and Birmingham restaurants are up and running I visit only about once a month. I am frequently sticking my nose in at the Mayfair kitchen. The great British public is not gullible enough to think I am in the kitchens of all three hotel restaurants all the time.

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