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Sonal Clare was born in Ealing, London. His passion for food was developed throughout his childhood, with food and cooking being a huge part of his upbringing.
In 2002 he went to University College Birmingham (UCB), then the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies, where he studied Hospitality and Food Management. He had the opportunity to do a placement during the course, which he took advantage of and went to Ireland to complete his placement at The Nuremore Hotel and Country Club, County Monaghan. Sonal had always wanted to be a chef but he was told that there were no placements available in the kitchen but was given the opportunity to work as a waiter. Although originally apprehensive, Sonal thoroughly enjoyed being a waiter and relished the chance to learn more about service and wine.
After graduating in 2006, he was offered employment at the hotel as Restaurant Supervisor. In 2007 he was offered the Restaurant Manager role at Restaurant 23, at the Balmoral Hotel in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. After two successful years, he decided he was ready for a new challenge and a move back home.
Sonal had been an admirer of Glynn Purnell’s food since he dined at his restaurant ‘Jessica’s’. He still regards that meal as one of his most memorable; full of fun, quirkiness and flavour. On his return to Birmingham, Sonal was seeking a career in a Michelin starred restaurant and was very keen to work with Glynn.
He was offered a job at Purnell’s as a waiter and took every opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of the role and developed a great interest in wine. In August 2013, after 5 years of being Assistant Manager, Sonal took over as Restaurant Manager of Purnell’s.