Former Southampton chip fryer Simon Rogan is Britain's top chef

Daily Echo: Simon Rogon is Britain's top chef Simon Rogon is Britain's top chef

A FORMER Millbrook schoolboy who began his cookery career by frying chips has been revealed as Britain’s top chef.

Simon Rogan, 45, has knocked Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck off the top spot in The Good Food Guide’s annual top 50 ranking.

And Simon, originally from Lordswood, who runs the award-winning two Michelin-starred L’Enclume restaurant in the Lake District, couldn’t be happier.

“I’m delighted,” he said.

“It’s what you aspire to as a restaurateur.

“We hope we are just going to get better and better now.”

He is known for creating such quirky dishes as cod ‘yoke’ and oyster pebbles.

But the chef started out cooking chips and kebabs in a Greek restaurant in Southampton.

And if it wasn’t for an advert in the Echo he might never have embarked on his food career, which has seen him work with Jean- Christophe Novelli and Marco Pierre White, win the dessert course in the Great British Menu 2012 and be a mentor on MasterChef.

“I saw an ad in the Echo that the restaurant was looking for someone to work on Fridays and Saturdays,” said Simon, who was born in Shirley Warren.

“I went along and chopped up some cucumber and tomatoes and they gave the job to me!

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“To start with my motivation was money. I was only 14 – it wouldn’t be legal now.

“It wasn’t that I particularly wanted to work but I wanted to have the money. I liked to have nice things like clothes. I was paid £22 a week – I was the richest person in my year!”

Simon, who went to Mansel Park Primary School, Oakwood Junior School and Millbrook Community School, went on to study at Southampton Technical College.

He said: “I thought I was the bees’ knees until I got to college and there were all these people who were at hotels in the New Forest. They were all better than me.

“So I quit my job at the Greek restaurant in Bedford Place and got an apprenticeship at Rhinefield House Hotel under Paul Norman.

“I went from being well paid to earning nothing but by that point it had stopped being about the money – I’d fallen in love with what I was doing and money didn’t matter anymore.

“I owe a huge debt to Paul Norman for what he taught me.”

Simon says that his interest in food may have been sparked by his father’s job at a wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Southampton.

He remembers his dad bringing unusual fruit home and watching all the restaurateurs visiting the market for supplies when he was waiting for his father to finish work.

Simon is set to open a new restaurant in London next year. There are no plans to open a restaurant in Southampton at the moment but it isn’t something he would rule out.

“The pull of opening a restaurant in your home town is quite strong,” he said.

Comments (12)

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11:58am Thu 5 Sep 13

RED & WHITE..RED & WHITE says...

Well done always nice to hear a local go on to make a success of them selves
Well done always nice to hear a local go on to make a success of them selves RED & WHITE..RED & WHITE

12:00pm Thu 5 Sep 13

George4th says...

Well done! Excellent!
Well done! Excellent! George4th

1:13pm Thu 5 Sep 13

Terry_Nutkins says...

Fair play to the lad although I’d not bother opening a restaurant in Southampton. We’ve become a poor, uncultured class of people, superficial and hostile and far too moronic to appreciate good food plus the council planners only seem to grant consent to shops and restaurants so you’d be in competition with about 200 over-priced restaurants, many of which are poor class, corporate chains.

It’s probably against the council mandate to have culture anyway. Why change it now when you can ruin a city with enviable assets such as ours? Stick to a town with foresight, a forward thinking authority with care for the community.

It does make me wonder what it must be like to live in a town which is well run, organised and appreciates the community and culture and appreciates its heritage? Must be refreshing and give you a sense of pride. Somewhere where works of art are not vandalised and stolen, heritage no damaged and people not regularly attacked.
I digress. Good luck to the lad. Just avoid So’ton and open a restaurant someone decent.
Fair play to the lad although I’d not bother opening a restaurant in Southampton. We’ve become a poor, uncultured class of people, superficial and hostile and far too moronic to appreciate good food plus the council planners only seem to grant consent to shops and restaurants so you’d be in competition with about 200 over-priced restaurants, many of which are poor class, corporate chains. It’s probably against the council mandate to have culture anyway. Why change it now when you can ruin a city with enviable assets such as ours? Stick to a town with foresight, a forward thinking authority with care for the community. It does make me wonder what it must be like to live in a town which is well run, organised and appreciates the community and culture and appreciates its heritage? Must be refreshing and give you a sense of pride. Somewhere where works of art are not vandalised and stolen, heritage no damaged and people not regularly attacked. I digress. Good luck to the lad. Just avoid So’ton and open a restaurant someone decent. Terry_Nutkins

1:45pm Thu 5 Sep 13

sameoldscene says...

Brilliant! Fantastic story of no matter where you live, get bought up or what School you attend in life then the world is certainly your oyster if you relly want it. Simon, i salute you Sir.
Brilliant! Fantastic story of no matter where you live, get bought up or what School you attend in life then the world is certainly your oyster if you relly want it. Simon, i salute you Sir. sameoldscene

1:45pm Thu 5 Sep 13

southy says...

Well done Simon
Well done Simon southy

1:53pm Thu 5 Sep 13

Shoong says...

Yes well done Simon - it proves with self determination, self respect and a willingness to improve yourself that you can achieve your dreams, rather than having everything provided for you and told that's your lot in life...
Yes well done Simon - it proves with self determination, self respect and a willingness to improve yourself that you can achieve your dreams, rather than having everything provided for you and told that's your lot in life... Shoong

4:23pm Thu 5 Sep 13

cantthinkofone says...

Well done.

“The pull of opening a restaurant in your home town is quite strong,” he said.

Do it! In Millbrook!

A Michelin starred restaurant in Millbrook. Come on, that would be *amazing*! :-D
Well done. “The pull of opening a restaurant in your home town is quite strong,” he said. Do it! In Millbrook! A Michelin starred restaurant in Millbrook. Come on, that would be *amazing*! :-D cantthinkofone

4:40pm Thu 5 Sep 13

Zexagon says...

He ought to make a cookery programme. Could do with a few more of them on tv
He ought to make a cookery programme. Could do with a few more of them on tv Zexagon

8:39pm Thu 5 Sep 13

Just another reader says...

He's been on a spoof cookery review program that Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon did called The Trip.

Great to see another Lordswood boy doing well.
He's been on a spoof cookery review program that Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon did called The Trip. Great to see another Lordswood boy doing well. Just another reader

10:17pm Thu 5 Sep 13

RealTalkSouthampton says...

Well done. Great advert for Southampton . But he should invest in his home town. Southampton Fc is a perfect example of what vision and determination can do.
Well done. Great advert for Southampton . But he should invest in his home town. Southampton Fc is a perfect example of what vision and determination can do. RealTalkSouthampton

11:28am Fri 6 Sep 13

KA says...

Well done Simon.. look forward to eating your food in Southampton..
Well done Simon.. look forward to eating your food in Southampton.. KA

12:07pm Fri 6 Sep 13

southy says...

cantthinkofone wrote:
Well done.

“The pull of opening a restaurant in your home town is quite strong,” he said.

Do it! In Millbrook!

A Michelin starred restaurant in Millbrook. Come on, that would be *amazing*! :-D
It would be, opposite Millbrook Park, don't think there any where in Redbridge apart from down by Ship Inn.

You know the best part is how he done it, He done it with out putting others down, He done it in a Socialist manor.
[quote][p][bold]cantthinkofone[/bold] wrote: Well done. “The pull of opening a restaurant in your home town is quite strong,” he said. Do it! In Millbrook! A Michelin starred restaurant in Millbrook. Come on, that would be *amazing*! :-D[/p][/quote]It would be, opposite Millbrook Park, don't think there any where in Redbridge apart from down by Ship Inn. You know the best part is how he done it, He done it with out putting others down, He done it in a Socialist manor. southy

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