Meet The Chef: Simon Rogan

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With menus driven by foraged ingredients, sustainability and seasonality, this chef’s cooking is as ethical as it is delectable

When it comes to transforming foraged ingredients into Michelin-worthy meals, Simon Rogan is a passed master. It may be currently modish to gather, hunt, shoot and fish, but this chef was a pioneer in the field (no pun intended) many years ago.

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Having brought Britain’s bounty to the country’s most-coveted dining tables through restaurants including two-Michelin-starred L’Enclume, Roganic and Fera at Claridges, Simon has earned a stellar reputation for his signature cuisine: a thoughtful, precisely-executed combination of the refined and the untamed. The chef’s recent departure from Fera surely means exciting pastures new – so watch this space for the full low-down.

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Tell us about a sensational world-class meal you’ve enjoyed?
I had an amazing time at Toyo in Manila. It brought new flavours and ingredients to my attention that I’d never encountered before, all presented in really imaginative ways. I love restaurants with a certain buzz and vibe, and Toyo certainly had it.

Of all the chefs you’ve worked alongside, who are some of your greatest influences?
Marc Veyrat, whose use of Alpine herbs, flowers and roots really inspired me to take the direction I took.

Chef collaboration meals are having a moment – who would be in your own all-star supergroup?
Alain Passard, Sergio Herman, Dan Hunter, Michel Bras, Marc Veyrat and Dan Barber.

Dan Barber’s recent WastED pop-up brought waste to the fore again; how do you address the issue?
I love to use the bits of food that people often think are unusable, particularly vegetables – they often have the most flavour! Using tasting menus at L’Enclume helps reduce waste too:
I know how many covers there are and how much produce is needed so very little goes in the bin.

Your cooking is underpinned by a love for foraging; what should people seek out at the moment?
If you are lucky enough to live around areas where sweet cicely grows, then pick it, chop it, and add to fruits like rhubarb and gooseberries to reduce the tartness. And July sees the beginning of sea buckthorn season; try juicing the berries and using as an interesting alternative to lemon juice to make curds from rich milk.

You opened L’Enclume in 2002. What are your most iconic dishes?
I would consider the iconic dishes to be the grilled salad, carrot in ham fat  and nasturtium; potatoes in onion ash, and ox in coal oil to name a few. But I don’t really have favourites,

I look at how good the menu is as a whole: the rhythm, the ingredients, the balance, and how the whole thing looks and tastes. To create a whole menu that achieves all of these elements really excites me.

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What are you most proud of rearing and growing on your farm?
There is just too much to mention! But I am very proud of its world-class operation and its closed circle farming system where natural ingredients live in harmony and depend on each other.

This model has influenced many others to follow suit, which can only be a good thing. As a team, we are always moving forward in order to ensure that we continue to innovate and remain at the forefront of the movement.

Simon’s fast favourites
1 Chef Alain Passard
2 Restaurant Toyo Eatery by Jordy Navarra, Philippines
3 Food city Barcelona
4 Cookbook Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras
5 Kitchen gadget Thermomix
6 Ingredient Kohlrabi
7 Desert island dish Thai red duck curry

Find out more at simonrogan.com

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