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Peepo Pizzeria Brignorth ~ What’s in Your Pizza?

Peepo Restaurant Chef Richard Lipscombe

Peepo Restaurant Chef Richard Lipscombe

Peepo Pizzeria Brignorth ~ What’s in Your Pizza?

James Day of Eat-the-Midlands.co.uk, meets up with Chef Richard Lipscombe of Peepo Pizzeria, Bridgnorth, and discovers there is more to their popular pizzas than meets the eye.

Richard Lipscombe – Chef. Aged 34

Are you from Bridgnorth?
Yes, I was born and raised in Bridgnorth, just out of town In Bromley, which was nice and rural. We lived next to a gamekeeper, which was interesting to say the least.

What do you mean?

There were often animals in various stages of ‘undress’ in his garden, as he used to hang his own pheasants & other game, so you get used to the odd carcass when growing up, which I guess does not do you any harm..

What were your earliest memories of cooking food?
As mentioned growing up next door to a gamekeeper, I used to see lots of animals he had caught and hunted including game such as pheasant, partridge, and rabbits. My parents friends had a local hotel serving great food, It had a herb garden with thyme, rosemary, chives and other fresh herbs. Diane Cleal, (The patron Chef) used to make meat terrines from the local game, using her fresh herbs. I used to help  her cook and learnt to appreciate flavour, and how ingredients influence a dish.

What was your first job?

Picking strawberries & raspberries, on the local farm. Helping the game keeper as a beater during the shoots.

What influenced your career path?
One of the early books I read, was a book by Nico  Landenis, influential London Restaurateur and controversial 3 Star Michelin chef, who Marco Pierre White trained under for a while. That book, and the rich food photos, and the use of ingredients in the dishes, The food style really influenced me,  I ended up working for him and making those dishes.. “its all about flavour and balance.”

Did you go to college to learn about food?

I went to Radbrook Collage in shrewsbury, to do a course in Hotel management, and quickly fell into the kitchens, it was so much fun.. I enjoyed learning about food and the industry.. I was young, it was fun, and I realised being a chef would be the way to go for me..

Where was your first kitchen job?

After graduating from Radbrook, I went Surrey to a lovely country hotel and became an apprentice  chef there. A little after a year there, the pastry chef helped me to move to the Dorchester hotel in London, he said it would be good for me, and that id learn a lot.. he was so right.

How did that come about?
I had always annoyed the pastry chef, until he gave me the recipe or showed me how to make the dessert. So he took it upon himself to call an old friend of his up who was the executive sous chef at the Dorchester hotel, and I was told to go and meet him, never looked back.  The work was very demanding, I learned so much and it was unforgettable times.

Where there any famous people you cooked for?
You get to cook for a lot of wealthy or famous people working in London restaurants and private dining,  you do meet interesting people.. it can be surreal, but at the end of the day, they just want to eat, and you hope they enjoy the food. One of them was Nelson Mandela, which was a real privilege.

How long did you stay at the Dorch?
A few years, I then moved to the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, to work for Michelle Borden,  studying classical French cuisine at Michelin level..  Two & a half years of that later I could cook.. or so I thought.. but its where I really got to grips with how ingredients work and how to hone the art of food… so many flavours discovered and played with.. its where I became a chef..

I Then went to went to work for Nico  Landenis  at the acclaimed ‘90 Park Lane’ “Chez Nico”. He had 3 Michelin Stars at the time, which was cooking at another level. Sadly shortly after i left, he closed it due to ill health, but I carry much of that experience with me today. It’s all about ingredients, flavours & art on a plate..

How come you returned to Bridgnorth?
I had a small private dining & events company for many years which I closed due to the credit crunch pinching a bit too much, I was based in Cornwall.. I came back to Bridgnorth to organise myself for a position aboard a private yacht, for an old client I used to work for in London. Regrettably due to the unrest in the Mediterranean (highlighted in the news recently) the relevant work permits for African Countries are delayed severely. So I missed the boat, pardon the pun..  However I have been working at Peepos while here in Bridgnorth, a fantastic place, and its a pleasure to be a part of a great new vibrant restaurant, I believe it is just what Bridgnorth needs and their commitment to a high standard is very refreshing. Its made working in Bridgnorth very refreshing and hopeful for its culinary future.

Flipping Pizzas, a bit different to Michelin?
Yes, that’s true [Richard Laughs] but at the end of the day it is all about food & flavour, the love for ingredients, no matter what you are cooking. Working at Peepo Pizzeria has been fun, back to basics, but done properly.. all fresh and home made, back into flavours. Italian food is essentially simple food, but what I like about Peepo’s is that they have kept focus on provenance of ingredients, sourcing authentic Italian “00” flour, Italian meats, we make all our own sauces and  only use the best cured meats, resulting in great flavours on the plate. We have created some great soups, salads, homemade salsas, for the menus, and of course the pizzas,  which are proving very popular – the direct feedback from customers has been a real boost – sometime you lose that in  fine dining restaurant or large catering event.  Simple direct and fresh, Italian!

And what next for you?
Well, as soon as my ship comes in, as it were, I will fulfill my contract and hope aboard, which will be fun, but until then, its all about pizzas!

Contacts: Peepo pizzeria. 84-85 High Street, Bridgnorth, WV16 4DS. Tel: 01746 766 220

Richard Lipscombe and team peepo Pizzeria, Bridgnorth

Richard Lipscombe and team peepo Pizzeria, Bridgnorth

Richard Lipscombe peepo Pizzeria, Bridgnorth

Richard Lipscombe peepo Pizzeria, Bridgnorth

Peepo Cocktail bar, Bridgnorth

Peepo Cocktail bar, Bridgnorth

Peepo Pizzeria Bridgnorth

Peepo Pizzeria Bridgnorth

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