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NW Chef's Miracle Year Gets Better (And Busier)

After the Midland, MCR, it's Claridges in London

Published on November 4th 2013.

NW Chef's Miracle Year Gets Better (And Busier)

"IT's Claridges, Mayfair, all that glamour and wealth," says Simon Rogan. "There may be the odd tin of caviar in evidence. I might have to relax the British emphasis I have in Manchester and Cartmel when it comes to ingredients. Push things further."

He pauses and a note of caution enters his voice as though the responsibility of what he's taken on suddenly hits him.

"But who knows what will happen? I'm just massively honoured and excited to be asked to cook at a world class British icon."

This will be enough for me. I want to keep the teams tight. I want to maintain a direct link to them all. And I have the farm as well. 

Rogan is Claridges bound, which isn't an ailment, but a destination. Claridges is one of the most prestigious hotels in the capital of course - "In my top three hotels in London," bellows the decadent Gordo, removing a foie gras sandwich from his mouth whilst swigging back a flute of Pol Roger.

This has been the annus mirabilis for Rogan.

All the long hours he's put into two star Michelin restaurant L'Enclume in the Lakes over the last decade has borne spectacular fruit. Earlier this year his re-working of The French at the Midland in Manchester has led to so many accolades (for instance Best Newcomer in The Good Food Guide, twelfth best restaurant nationally in any category) that his hat size must have lurched three fold. 

Now he is to step into the shoes of Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Waring and get all metropolitan on us. Confidential readers would have expected something like this of course, if maybe not so quickly.

A mere month ago David Blake interviewed Rogan (click here) and the busiest chef in the world said this when asked if he'd now settled in the North West:

"We are going to return to London at some point. It’s inevitable. Not necessarily because I want to, because you have to. London is the centre, whether you like it or not, from a business perspective you need a presence there. For Manchester and Cartmel it’s important because it drives that national and international foodie traffic North West."

Given Confidential's comments about The Sunday Times Top 100 List recently it seems the Gods of Food have thrown a fat wadge of wet irony in our faces. 


So how will Rogan manage sites separated by almost 300 miles? 

"It's about having good teams. I've got an established team at L'Enclume, there's Adam Reid and Camilla Plonska in Manchester, and I'll be creating another team in London led by Dan Cox. I'll still also be spending a lot of time on my Lake District farm with the ingredients. It's all about organisation in the end.

"We've already proved we can hack it with Roganic in London," he continues, "but that was in a temporary site, now we have to prove it in a place with the heritage and the reputation of Claridges."

And the time scale for the Claridges mission?

"We're opening there in April or May next year so we're, as a company, going to have to put a lot of hard work and imagination into developing the menu."

Confidential wishes Rogan luck. If he can maintain the quality across the three locations then good on him. 

So is the Ramsayfication of the what has become the Rogan brand set to continue? Restaurants in Dubai and New York maybe?

"This will be enough for me. I want to keep the teams tight. I want to maintain a direct link to them all. And I have the farm as well. So this is it, the three locations."

He takes another pause. I think I hear a gulp.

"Even now I can't physically work any longer hours," says the chef of the moment. 

London Manchester Cartmel. Nice ring to it.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Linda CookNovember 4th 2013.

About time the North educated the South as far as presentation and quality food is concerned. Congratulations to Simon and his team...having eaten in your restaurants its going to be one heck of a trip to see how things can be taken up a level for Claridge's.

Marcus EadyNovember 4th 2013.

Brilliant acclaim for Simon and it's not about the north and the south for me, its about sharing food experiences and blending cultures from the top to the foot of the UK.

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanNovember 5th 2013.


Dawn HoldingNovember 4th 2013.

Wowee can't wait for it x

AnonymousNovember 5th 2013.

Miracle year! MIRACLE year! I think not Mr Schofield

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 5th 2013.

Eh? How very odd that comment is. And as usual tediously anonymous

AnonymousNovember 5th 2013.

Nothing tedious Jonathan, I'm sure - and nothing odd either. It is your feigned and disingenuous misunderstanding that is both tedious and odd. I'm sure you know full well that "Miracle year" is a somewhat daft, totally inappropriate, ridiculously exaggerated and positively inaccurate phrase. It's that simple really.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
pollolocoNovember 6th 2013.

did your Mum drop you on your head or something Anon?

Miraculous LenNovember 6th 2013.

The man has just been given the job of his life while launching to immense acclaim to restaurants in Manchester. For him it's a miracle.

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