Born and raised in Nottingham, England, chef Brendan Collins began his career behind the stoves more than 20 years ago in some of the most disciplined and avant garde kitchens in London. For more than a dozen of those years, he has lived in Los Angeles and now proudly considers the sprawling metropolis his home, where he has become known for his refined and modern approach to food, as well his passion for whole animal butchery and seasonal cooking. All of this has led him to Birch, a new restaurant unexpectedly located in the burgeoning neighborhood of the Cahuenga Corridor in Hollywood. Birch will be Collins’ new flagship featuring elevated seasonal standards tempered with a straightforward sensibility and relaxed atmosphere.
Brendan Collins knew very early on that he wanted to be a chef. He dropped out of secondary school to enroll in culinary school and proceeded to build an ambitious resume. His first job at the age of 17 was at Michelin two-starred La Gavroche in London. He continued to hone his skills at several restaurants considered to be some of London’s finest gastronomic temples, including The Café Royal, The Heights and Pied à Terre.
Collins’ first executive chef position was at The Calls Grill in Leeds, which would earn the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand in 1999. He subsequently returned to London to sharpen his knives at the Oxo Tower and then became a sous chef under Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis. During his tenure there, he was part of the team to garner a Michelin star and was quickly recognized as rising star in London’s culinary scene.
In 2002 Collins crossed the pond to work with revered chef Josiah Citrin at Melisse in Santa Monica as chef de cuisine. During his four years with Citrin, Melisse consistently earned a Mobil Four Star rating and became one of California’s first Michelin two-star rated restaurants. He then struck out on his own opening Mesa in Orange County to much acclaim. However he would find himself back in Santa Monica to open Anisette with chef Alain Giraud. Later he would be lured to become executive chef of The Hall at Palihouse in West Hollywood.
Most recently, Collins was the executive chef and co-proprietor of the former Waterloo & City alongside respected front of house conductor Carolos Tomazos (of Per Se and Le Bernardin in New York). The elevated English gastropub opened in 2010 and became an instant success in its non-descript corner of Culver City, earning a loyal following and critical success. Although now closing its residence on Washington Blvd., Waterloo & City may find a new home sometime in the near future. In 2011, Collins and Tomazos also partnered with Hotel Erwin on the Venice Beach Boardwalk to open the ever-popular Larry’s, a casual neighborhood eatery named after iconic local artist, Larry Bell.