Chef Patron Michael Bremner Talks To Chef’s Table
Michael Bremner is originally from Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland, he started out washing pots in the country house hotel where his mother worked as a chef. Remaining in Aberdeenshire he started a five-year apprenticeship at The Pittodrie House Hotel and attended a local college one day per week. Once qualified he moved to London to further his experience working as a Demi-Chef de Partie in the pastry section at the Michelin starred Orrery Restaurant. Staying in London he gained experience at a few restaurants including working for Curtis Stone at the award winning restaurant, Quo Vadis.
Michael then worked and travelled for a couple of years spending time in Australia and then Canada where he combined his love of snowboarding with cooking and was a chef in the kitchen of Pan Pacific Hotel, Whistler in Canada, before returning to the UK and settling in Brighton where he now runs his own restaurant 64 Degrees.
Since it opened, 64 Degrees has gone from strength to strength, each year being awarded a Bib Gourmand by Michelin, awarded the number one spot on the Brighton Top 20 in 2016 & 2017 and being voted number 30 in the National Restaurant Top 100 list 2017.
Michael now has more than one restaurant to his name, he has recently opened a relaxed eatery called Murmur (the name comes from the word for a flock of birds moving in unison, a Murmuration) in the arches on the Brighton promenade.
2017 has been a busy year for him as he also appeared, for the second time, on the popular BBC programme The Great British Menu, where his Main Course dish was selected for the final banquet held at Wimbledon.
Q: If you were not a chef, what could you have been?
A: When I was younger I always wanted to be a stuntman.
Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)
A: The Ledbury
Q: Is there a food or style of preparing food you would not eat?
A: I like to think that I’m quite adventurous but I don’t think I could ever eat dog.
Q: With the increased TV food programmes, is there a greater rivalry among chefs?
A: With my experience of being on Great British Menu I’d honestly have to say no. I think everyone involved is kind of in the same boat – it’s a very tough, high-pressure environment so if anything there’s a lot of unity between everyone.
Even between the chefs in Brighton, I would say that it’s the same unity rather than rivalry – we actually end up doing a lot of collaborations together
Q: How are you spreading your time between your two restaurants and what are the challenges of having two locations?
A; It’s not easy, I’m not going to lie! I am lucky enough to have a great team at 64 Degrees so at the moment I don’t have to be there every day to make sure the day-to-day running of the kitchen is how it should be, although I’m still heavily involved with working alongside Sam, my Head Chef, in developing the menu.
With Murmur, we opened just as the summer holidays were starting. In Brighton. On the seafront. It’s been pretty crazy and I’ve been in the kitchen there for the vast majority of my time over the past few weeks. It’s all coming together now though and the eventual aim is to get to a point where I’ll be splitting my time evenly between both restaurants. By then I might have forgotten how hard it is and try and open another one!
Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu/s in which you use produce from your most local supplier?
A: It’s got to be the braised ox tongue, as much for sentiment than anything, as this is the dish I won Great British Menu with. In terms of the suppliers, pretty much everyone we use is local – BNFS for their great fresh fish, Barfields Butchers, plus at 64 Degrees we get a whole lamb each week from local Saddlescombe Farm and butcher it ourselves, serving different cuts throughout the week.
Q: If you could invite any Chef past or present to cook alongside you for one night who would that be and why?
A: I would love to have the opportunity to cook with Bob Ovington, who was the guy who first trained me at the Pittodrie House Hotel in Aberdeenshire. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today
My Favourite Tables – Two restaurants I have visited and why?
Locally I’d say that my favourite place is The Chilli Pickle. It’s such a great place to eat and my two little girls love it there too so we end up going quite a lot.
The other place I eat at a lot is Pho. I really enjoy Vietnamese noodle soup and their spicy beef brisket pho dish is right up there for me.
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