Matthew Shropshall, licensee and chef of the Royal Oak pub, King's Bromley, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire

10 November 2005
Matthew Shropshall, licensee and chef of the Royal Oak pub, King's Bromley, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire

Mathew Shropshall, 29, decided to become a chef when he was 12. And by the time he was 21 he was a two-time winner of the student section of Caterer‘s Great British Recipe competition, in 1996 and 1997.

In 1992 Shropshall enrolled at the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism & Creative Studies, where he gained a NVQ in catering and hospitality in 1995 and an HND in hotel, catering and institutional management in 1998.

From 2001 to 2002 he was at London's City & Guilds, where he gained a teaching certificate.

His career has seen him work at the Waterside Inn in Bray with Alain Roux and at numerous other well-established restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Chteau de l'Ile in Strasbourg, France, and the Belfry and Lea Marston hotels in Warwickshire.

Since 2001, when he bought out his business partner, he has been licensee of the Royal Oak gastropub in Staffordshire, where he had been chef-patron since 1999. The pub is part of Wolverhampton & Dudley's Union pub division.

Also in 2001 Shropshall won the British Pub Chef of the Year award and was a regional finalist in the Roux Scholarship, an achievement he repeated this year. In 2002 he won Caterer‘s Acorn Award.

His work at the Royal Oak includes not only running the kitchen, but also the marketing and accounting side of the business.

On top of operating the pub, he also spends 22 hours a week at the Birmingham College of Food & Drink, where he has been a part-time lecturer for the past seven years. "I work 365 days a year and I love it. But I do get tired, and my hair is starting to fall out," he laughs.
Shropshall aims to move into fine dining and is confident he will open his own restaurant within the next three years.

"I'm not ready for it yet," he says. "I want to work with chefs like Rick Stein and Raymond Blanc before I start my own fine-dining restaurant. Once there, I'll go for my own Michelin stars."

Salary Watch: what pub managers should be earning

Unit manager
Turnover to £500,000 £17,000 £22,000-£25,000£25,000-£27,000
Turnover £500,000-£1m £21,000 £26,000-£28,000 £30,000
Turnover £1m-plus £28,000 £35,000-£38,000 £45,000-£50,000
Area manager
Managed£32,000£38,000-£40,000 £45,000-£50,000
Tenanted£28,000 £34,000-£36,000 £40,000
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