Combining techniques from the kitchen at Fera, Simon created four unique Michelin-star-inspired snacks in a graze punnet format.
There are only 100 graze X Simon Rogan #futureofnacking limited edition snack boxes available. To be in with a chance of winning a box, visit www.graze.com from 12th Nov – 22nd Nov to enter the ballot.
You’ve teamed up with graze to create some Michelin starred snacks. Can you tell our readers a little bit about the development process behind this?
graze approached me with the idea for the collaboration to try to bring about more new, exciting and different things to eat. They wanted to explore what might be possible in the The Future of Snacking, so I tried to take graze’s innovation and expertise and combine that with what I’m doing across my restaurants and ventures, as well as putting fresh ideas together to think of something really new and exciting.
What could our grazers expect to find in the graze x Simon Rogan snack box?
Lots of exciting and unusual ingredients and flavour combinations that you don’t expect to see in a typical graze snack box. We wanted to make something really special so there’s lobster, chicken skin, and two different types of cheese…
What is it like to work in one of the most prestigious hotels in the world and can you tell our readers a little bit about the Fera dining experience?
It’s pretty special to be able to trade in such an amazing place and to work with such an outstanding team. It’s a very slick operation so a lot has rubbed off me as a businessman too.
The dining experience shares the same ethos and basic style as say L’Enclume or The French but the repertoire is different and the overall experience caters for a much larger dining room with a very different and varied clientele.
What’s next for you? Do you have any exciting projects you can share with us in the pipeline?
Maybe we will open a new restaurant but we’re always very careful about how anything we open will sit with the other restaurants that we have. It could be something international, you never know. I think that it’s important to us that the brand is kept in keeping with the others and that we should be protective of its reputation.
We’re also ensuring we’re getting our teams and structure right so that we’re not stretched when the right proposition to expand comes along
You have trained under some influential chefs, who has influenced you the most?
My first Head Chef Paul Norman gave me the most amazing classical grounding as a chef, which I think, is massively important and Jean Christophe Novelli introduced me to a more modern style of cooking and the art of being a restaurateur.
You are known for your foraging technique. How important is the sourcing of ingredients when creating new dishes?
Foraging is a great way to get the best of nature’s ingredients from the UK countryside. It’s a natural larder from which to source the best seasonal wild ingredients. We do most of our foraging in Cumbria, where my restaurant L’Enclume is. We don’t over do it though; this is just a part of what we do.
Working with seasonal ingredients is a really good sustainable way of finding fresh, flavoursome ingredients at their prime throughout the year. We try to bring the best of British ingredients into our menus, making the most of the countryside and our farm around us.
When developing a new dish, where do you get ideas from?
Fundamentally most ideas come from the product available to us. It used to be all sorts, such as technology, different cuisines of the world, ceramics and many other things. Now the farm drives us and I say we, because now input comes from all, we have a development committee sort of process, but I have the final say.
What first inspired you to become a chef?
My father worked in the fruit and veg wholesale markets in Southampton and used to bring home all sorts of weird stuff, which I became fascinated with, and led me into finding out what to do with them. I sort of become a keen cook at home first.
Have you got any top tips for budding cooks who want to stand out and make it as a top chef?
Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment. If you want to stand out from the crowd then get creative and make sure that your personality and passion shines through your dishes to present something special.
What’s your favourite food? Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I love Thai food, I love the fragrance, and I am always partial to a bit of spice and it’s generally pretty tasty too. I am guilty in partaking of the odd fish finger butty too.
Working in a restaurant entails a very busy, hectic lifestyle – what to do you do to unwind?
On the occasions I have a bit of time to myself, I obviously like to spend it with my family just chilling at home, or walking along the beach. I am into music and am a keen cyclist too. I also enjoy jumping in my little runabout, getting the top down and getting out into the countryside.
Any tips for those wanting to try out cooking modern British food at home?
Generally, a technical approach to our cooking in the UK is becoming less in your face and more simple, but something we all love and should do more of is cooking on barbecues. Cooking over fire has been man’s chosen way of for thousands of years, everyone likes a BBQ and they’re not just for indoors, you can get mini ones for the house, which are great. We used a Green Egg barbecue to grill our cauliflower for the graze X Simon Rogan collaboration snacks.
Which are some of your favourite restaurants around London?
If I could go anywhere right now, it would be Johnny Boer’s Librije.
In a few sentences, can you tell our readers what an average day is like?
My average day is long, pretty hectic and crammed full of all sorts of commitments.
Every day is different and things can be quite stressful, but I have enjoyed the change from chef with a single site to restaurateur of multi sites leading many people.
As a chef you spend hours in the kitchen, do you still get pleasure cooking at home or would you prefer to go out to dinner?
To be honest, I hardly ever cook at home, I leave that to my partner Penny and I love it, but we also eat out a lot too, although generally not in the places you would expect. When I am not working I like to be private and relaxed and eat simply.
Do you have a motto in life?
Always try your best but be humble and respectful.
Never take yourself too seriously; there is a lot of bad stuff in the world that always brings things into perspective.