Top 50 Gastropubs

Liam Dillon

We want to give you something you can't do at home

Get to know Liam Dillon

What do you enjoy most about your industry?

The comradery in the team we have is what everyone falls in love with. You spend more time with these people than your family – it’s good team spirit.

Where’s your favourite place to eat, other than the Boat?

Anywhere that’s relaxed, I like a trip down to London to spoil myself.

Who’s your biggest influence?

Someone like Heston, he took a small pub in the middle of Bray and made it into a world-class restaurant. Looking at his journey, I’m nowhere near what Heston has achieved but we’ve changed our pub a huge amount and I’d like to think that Lichfield is firmly on the map.

What makes The Boat stand out above the rest?

What we’re trying to achieve – relying on the ingredients, casual environment, letting the food and drink do the talking but trying to be different along the way, something you can’t do at home.

What does being a Top 50 Gastropub mean to you?

I’m very proud of having that accolade – to be amongst the people on that list in an honour.

What advice would you give to an aspiring chef?

Find a good kitchen and team who will nurture you. Stick with the long hours and try to enjoy it!

Best country for food?

I’m biased, but England. There are so many different types of cuisine with varied styles, we’re spoilt! That’s coming through with the different types of awards, people are really looking at the UK now.

Typical Sunday?

A nice good old English beef roast dinner.

How do you clear your mind?

Before lockdown I’d get away and go to football, I’m an Aston Villa fan through and through. Or take the dog out for a nice long walk.

What do you think the future holds for Gastropubs?

I think there’s a bright future. There’s definitely been a change in attitude towards dining with a more casual approach to really good food. There will be a place for Gastropubs for a long long time