Lee Hollington is Head Chef of Symphony Hall's eatery B:Eats. Joining B:Music in the post-covid world, Lee was determined to get the restaurant off the ground with its own speciality dish. The traditional Brummie Bacon Cake is a recipe passed down from Lee's Grandad, and now a staple at the B:Eats eatery.
Just over a year later, Lee and the restaurant were recognised by the legendary Northern chefs, The Hairy Bikers; and Lee was invited to appear on their Christmas special which broadcast on BBC Two last night.
"It means the world to be honest, from a professional point of view, it's great that people like the Hairy Bikers have recognised what we're doing here. It's a great achievement for us and my team and the whole company, just to have somebody like the Hairy Bikers be interested is just phenomenal. From my own point of view, all I've ever dreamed of is to do something like this. So yeah, it's been a dream come true."
Lee talks about the experience filming with Dave and Si. "They were both hilarious all the way through, to be honest, really really nice guys and we were having a great laugh, Dave and Si taking the mickey out of the cameramen was really funny."
"But the one thing that sticks out for me is when we came out and they saw the choir and the band playing, you could see how much it meant to them, especially Dave, what he's been through with his treatment. You could see it was a really emotional moment and that was really nice to see."
It was a credit to everybody involved to to get the choir in and the band in. I think they really made the whole thing, just special.
It's not just a job, it's who you are as a person.
Following the success of the Brummie Bacon Cake, Lee told us about some upcoming dishes he's working on... "Yeah I've got a few in the works! The idea is every time we bring out a new menu, we will look at a Birmingham recipe that we can bring back or we can adapt to make into our own.
"We're looking at doing a Birmingham Balti so to speak - very traditional Birmingham Curry. I'm also leaning on my Grandad's influence and looking at a few wartime recipes that I can try and bring back as well."
At the end of our chat we asked Lee what it means to be a chef, it is, after all a notoriously demanding role.
"It's hard work, but it's the best work and it's something I'm very passionate about. It's not just a job it's who you are as a person, that's what I always say. I'm a Chef. It's my job. I've been doing it for nearly 23 years, and I will do it forever."
Interview by Lerah Barcenilla, Marketing & Communications Officer
Post-production by Ibi Keita, Digital Marketing Assistant