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New chef about to take over at Claridge’s.

by Elizabeth Hands on March 6, 2014

Simon Rogan at Claridge's

When Simon Rogan closed the doors on what he described as his “two-year pop-up” restaurant in Marylebone, he vowed to one day return to the capital. True to his word, Rogan is now gearing up to open a new and very high profile venue at one of London’s top hotels. The Michelin-starred chef, who is best known for his love of foraging, has joined forces with Claridge’s and will open a new restaurant at the 5* hotel in the spring.

Both parties have spoken about their excitement in the run up to one of the capital’s most anticipated dining experiences. “I’m sure any chef would cut off their right arm to take on this role,” said Rogan.  “It’s on a par with an aspiring footballer wanting to score the winning goal for his country in a World Cup Final.  I’m really honoured, and relieved, that they’ve gone for a British chef, and it’s a dream come true that that chef was me.”

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Claridge's -- Front Hall

Meanwhile, Claridge’s general manager Thomas Kochs said he was thrilled to be bringing Rogan to Claridge’s, adding, “He is a home-grown British talent and we believe his inspiring culinary concept for the hotel will lead the way for a new dining direction.” Rogan takes over from Gordon Ramsay as the big-name chef at the forefront of the fine dining offered at Claridge’s. And, it’s no wonder the prestigious hotel decided he would be the perfect fit for their discerning clientele.

Rogan holds an impressive two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant, L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria.  So determined is Rogan to work with the freshest produce available at any given moment that there is no menu, you simply order the set meal and wait to see what wonders will be brought to your table. The chef also owns a 12-acre farm nearby in the Cartmel Valley and much of the produce for his menu at Claridge’s is expected to be grown or reared here before being transported to the kitchen in London.

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Serious about being at the culinary cutting-edge, Rogan also runs a research project called Aulis, which is where farming programmes are developed, foraging operations are discussed and new dishes are created. And Rogan’s work doesn’t stop there.  He runs another two venues in Cartmel – Rogan & Co, which offers a more relaxed approach to dining, and The Pig & Whistle, which was his local pub long before he took it over and still offers real ales and hearty food. He also heads up two restaurants at Manchester’s The Midland Hotel – The French and Mr Cooper’s. But despite his heavy workload, Rogan is clearly relishing his new challenge and has been regularly tweeting about how he and his team are busy developing the menu for Claridge’s.

So far, no date has been given for the opening of the new Claridge’s venture, but it is expected to be in either April or May 2014. No name has been revealed yet either, but it is thought it won’t simply be an eponymously titled venue. Whatever it is called, it seems Rogan is definitely in it for the long haul as he is understood to have signed a 10-year contract with Claridge’s.  That gives visitors to London plenty of time to sample Rogan’s award-winning culinary delights.  Our mouths are watering…

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Photo credits: Claridge’s.

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