Meet the Chef: Wes Birch, The Ship Inn

We sat down with popular Stroud chef Wes Birch to find out a bit more about why dining at The Ship Inn is so special.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, including where you are?
today, professionally, and what brought you here?

We opened The Ship Inn in July 2021 after an extensive remodel. We have also had BIRCH Catering for 10 years! I arrived from Derbyshire in 2001 and quickly started working at William’s Kitchen in Nailsworth. I applied for an ad that said ‘we’re looking for the next Jamie Oliver’. It was a great starting point for my career and I had a great culinary experience with William Beeston and his colleagues. I’ve been very lucky with the people I’ve worked with so far.

What is your star dish?

I don’t really have a signature dish. However, I have always loved cooking.
fish and also Italian comfort foods. Slow and low!

What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?

It is very difficult to create a menu that suits everyone. We try to balance the menu with a variety of options to appease the masses.

However, it is crucial that we make the food we love to eat ourselves, that way the passion is there! We try to use locally sourced, sustainable and seasonal ingredients.

image7 2 rotated |  Meet the Chef: Wes Birch, The Ship Inn

How would you describe your cooking style?

I have always liked the phrase ‘cuisine spontanée’. I love the spontaneous
Cooking. I cannot go to a market or a fishmonger with a menu in mind.
I like to see what’s out there and gather inspiration based on what I can.

Do you have a favorite time of year or such of ingredients that
want to work with?

I prefer to cook in the cooler months. I really like the cooking game and
winter vegetables. Open fire, bottle of red wine and a delicious game stew,

What is your favorite ingredient?

Garlic and lots of it! Apart from sweet dishes, I can’t think of any
dishes that I prepare that do not have it.

image6 2 rotated |  Meet the Chef: Wes Birch, The Ship Inn

What is your favorite kitchen equipment?

My knives, of course.

What is your favorite place to dine?

At home. We don’t go out very often because we are always very busy.
However, when we do it is always a pleasure. We enjoyed a meal at Sam &
Jak is in Cirencester the other day.

What do you think is the most overrated food trend?

Cake pops.

How would you describe the food you create at The Ship Inn to someone who has never tried your type of food?

British and modern European classics.

How are you doing with the menu planning?

We chat among ourselves in the kitchen, sharing stories of memorable
meals, Instagram videos and forgotten cookbooks.

image5 2 |  Meet the Chef: Wes Birch, The Ship Inn

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?

I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be.
Although we have a great team now, so I don’t cook as often as before.

What is your favorite takeout or comfort food?

Nhiangs Thai food from Stroud Farmers Market. Tom Yum is just as good
for breakfast like any other time of the day.

information box
Address: The Ship Inn
Telephone: 01453 619132
EMAIL: [email protected]
All images provided by Wesley Birch
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