Gareth Jones, Head Chef at the award-winning Mr Cooper’s House at Manchester’s Midland Hotel
PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:26 05 March 2015
We introduce our new chef columnist, Gareth Jones, Head Chef at the award-winning Mr Cooper’s at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.
Chester born chef Gareth Jones is cooking up a storm at Mr Cooper’s House and Garden, the relaxed dining alternative to Simon Rogan at the French, both of which have put Manchester’s Midland Hotel firmly at the centre of a dining revolution in the city.
Since leaving Upton House High School in Chester with an initial ideas to be a butcher, he found his metier as a chef and has never looked back. He worked at the Chester Grosvenor’s celebrated Arkle restaurant, feted Welsh hotel Bodysgallen Hall, was head chef at the Chesterfield in Chester and prior to launching Mr Cooper’s at the Midland 18 months ago was head chef at Neighbourhood in Spinningfields.
‘I left school not knowing what I wanted to do I thought of being a butcher went to the carers office and they came up with a two year cooking apprenticeship - a day in college and four years in the workplace and I’ve loved it ever since, ‘ he explains.
‘I never looked back. I was quite lucky to find something I enjoyed.’
It was the chance to work with Simon Rogan, the Michelin starred chef with a burgeoning business that includes L’Enclume in Cartmel and London’s Claridges Hotel that inspired him to make the move to the Midland.
‘The chance to work with Simon was a big draw - and working at the Midland Hotel, with its impressive reputation was great opportunity too,’ he says.
Plus the restaurant is all about the kind of good quality seasonally-biased cooking that he really enjoys.
‘It’s different from Simon Rogan at the French. It’s British brasserie-style using good local produce, it’s seasonal and simply presented. Everything is there for a reason and we use as much produce as we can from Simon’s farm in Cartmel so it’s all big flavours’.
Now Cheshire Life readers will be able bring a flavour of Mr Coopers into their own homes each month as Gareth joins the team as our resident chef. There’ll be a recipe each month reflecting the kinds of dishes available in the restaurant.
Says Gareth: ‘I’ll be doing very much Cooper’s style dishes but obviously we’ll simplify them so people can do them at home. You won’t need to buy a water bath or anything like that!’
Five things about Gareth and Mr Cooper’s House and Garden
1. Born in Chester
2. Age: 36
3. Married wife Claire in Las Vegas last year
4. Best seller at Mr Cooper’s Brasserie
Cumbrian rib-eye steak with truffle pudding and purple potato latkes
‘It’s been on the menu since day one and everyone still raves about it’
5. Favourite restaurants
The Chef’s Table, Chester
The Sticky Walnut