Bringing you interviews that shine light on the wonderful people behind some of the best restaurants in Bristol, the Pass it On Series look at their stories catching glimpses of their unique personalities. We interview them, and we let them pick who we feature next! Our last chat was with the guys at Adelina Yard, who then nominated Jan from Wilson’s as our next interviewee. So… let’s get cracking!
(It’s worth bearing in mind that Jan answered all of these questions whilst butchering a deer between lunch and dinner service…the man’s a machine)
Ello Jan, thanks for taking the time to have a little chat with us. Firstly, anything you’d like to say to Adelina Yard for passing this onto you?
I’m sorry I’ve been such a dick in holding up these interviews and taking so long to respond, don’t hate me. To the guys at Adelina Yard, I’m coming to fucking get you! No seriously I am, I need to go and eat there soon because they are serving some of the best food in Bristol.
So, firstly where did the desire to open Wilson’s come from?
I don’t think anyone wants to be a high-level chef without harbouring dreams of wanting to open their own restaurant. I have always wanted to have my own place and always loved to cook. When I met Mary (Jan’s wife) and heard her stories about growing up and spending lots of time in her dad’s restaurant throughout her childhood, that sealed the deal even more so and then we discovered we were having a baby. We couldn’t afford to live in London anymore and we didn’t want to live in Oxford so we stuck our fingers on the map and came up with Bristol – that turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made.
You’ve got a very close knit team, how has it been working together?
My team is the best; they work incredibly hard and always lift me up if I arrive feeling a bit blue some days. Mary is the ultimate lady boss, I’m just a chef with opinions.
So Jan, what makes you tick?
I feel very privileged to be doing what I love every day, but what makes me tick is the team around me. People make me tick. All of my staff are incredibly hard-working and passionate, so to be surrounded by that constantly reminds me why I chose to do this. Also, growing things on our little plot and serving them in the restaurant, I love that.
What’s the dish you are most proud of and why?
Man, that’s hard. Sometimes I absolutely rate a dish and I live for it and then the next day I might hate every single fucking part of it.
Anything that we have grown ourselves and then goes onto the plate is best feeling. A few months ago we were serving up wood pigeon with a szechuan pepper consommé and peas and gyoza – everything in that dish had been grown and caught by us, it was magic.
What’s been Wilson’s best moment of 2017?
Getting our little farm going and everything that we have managed to grow and produce ourselves.
24 hours in Bristol: Where do you go?
How am I supposed to answer this without getting into shit with anyone!? OK…
Breakfast at Katie & Kims
Lunch at Mayflower
Dinner at my mate James Wilks’ restaurant
Late night dinner from Oowee Diner
Favourite Wilson’s Team Bar?
Chums. We like our neighbours innit.
As this is a pass it on interview, you get to choose who’s next.. so let’s have it!
Easy! Verity & Charlie at Oowee!