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Michelin-starred Chef Simon Rogan on Christmas cooking

12:30 15 December 2015

Simon Rogan

Simon Rogan

© Copyright John Arandhara-Blackwell. All Rights Reserved 2014.

He’s a superstar chef so who better to ask about how to tackle the Christmas feast than the Midland Hotel’s Simon Rogan? Words by Janet Reeder

Simon Rogan is a culinary star. Not only is he head chef at the Midland Hotel in Manchester and Fera at Claridge’s, London, but he has his own Michelin-starred L’Enclume restaurant in Cumbria.

So who better to ask about the art of preparing a memorable festive feast?

Simon gives us an insight into his own Christmas and shares some hints and tips that may help us all on the big day.

What’s your idea of the perfect Christmas Day feast?

I’m very traditional so I love roast turkey with all the trimmings and loads of veg, perhaps kicking off the meal with a nice plate of smoked salmon. I like retro classics throughout the meal, too, such as avocado and prawns. Then a selection of great British cheeses, and - just to be different, since I am not a big fan of Christmas pudding - I’d opt for a lemon tart to finish.

As someone who has prepared meals for a restaurant full of people, do you have any tips for those who aren’t as practiced at catering for large groups ? You should plan everything hour by hour. Do as much prep work in advance, even starting the day before, if possible.

Any other ideas you could share with us on the theme of festive dining?

Assign family members some tasks in the kitchen. Since everyone tends to congregate in kitchens these days, you may as sell make them useful!

Do you get to eat with your family over the festive season?

If so what do you eat? if you don’t...what do you eat? It tends to be last minute for private dining in the run-up to Christmas – depending on how busy I am at the restaurants. But this is also a time for my family and friends to come to my restaurants, too, so I can work AND see them.

Do you have any memorable Christmas moments you can share? As a chef, I like to be in charge of what’s going on in my home kitchen, but once I entrusted the big Christmas Day meal to a family member who assured me all would be sorted. I had invited lots and lots of friends and family, and when I arrived home, it was absolute chaos. No food sorted, a mess everywhere! I had to step in and start from scratch.

What’s on the menu at The Midland Hotel for Christmas?

The French is closed between Christmas and New Year, but Mr Cooper’s is open throughout, with a really terrific seasonal menu.

Will diners at the restaurants at The Midland Hotel be seeing you over the festive season?

Yes, I will be popping in and out throughout the Christmas and New Year period. The restaurants are very busy and there is always a great atmosphere in the hotel.

Simon Rogan - Factbox

Simon trained under Marco Pierre White

In 2013 he took over the management of the French at the Midland Hotel in Manchester

Simon opened Mr Cooper’s House and Garden at the hotel in 2013

His Michelin starred L’Enclume restaurant in Cumbria has won him the reputation of being the best chef in Britain

He is also responsible for the menus as Fera in Claridges London.

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