Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred restaurant L’Enclume has scored the perfect 10 in The Good Food Guide 2013, joining The Fat Duck as one of only two restaurants in the UK to achieve the maximum rating.
Released today, the Guide placed the Cumbian restaurant just behind Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred site in Bray. Rogan told BigHospitality of his delight at L’Enclume being placed among the top table of UK eating out venues.
“To get a perfect 10 in The Good Food Guide is something you always think is the impossible dream, but we’ve managed it and obviously I’m elated about it,” he said.
“Heston’s been up there at the top for years, everyone in the trade looks at him as a genius that comes around once in a blue moon, so it’s no shame to come second to The Fat Duck.
“It’s been worth the hassle for us. There’s been many times when I’ve looked back and thought ‘why am I bothering with this?’ And the amount of unforeseen money that you have to invest can make you question yourself.
“But when this sort of thing happens, you do just have to look back and say it was all worth it.”
Miracles from nature
Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of The Good Food Guide, said L’Enclume was 'mind-blowing' and deserved its perfect 10 cooking rating this year.
“It’s a world-class destination in harmony with its local community, serving food that is hard-wired to the Cumbrian soil," she said.
“Rogan creates miracles from nature; he cooks what the land can provide - nothing more, nothing less. Eating at L’Enclume is a unique, almost one-to-one experience. It is quite simply astonishing.’
Rogan, who has been working in restaurants for almost 30 years, also runs sister restaurant Rogan & Company in Cartmel, and Roganic restaurant in London. At L’Enclume, he oversees the growing of vegetables destined for his plates and 11 months ago he built his own 12-acre organic farm from scratch.
The farm is now supplying all of the vegetables at the restaurant and Rogan hopes to expand the concept further.
“Running the farm is probably one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, he said. “It’s given me a new lease of life as a cook and more inspiration. I’m at my happiest at 8am in the morning picking the day's ingredients - I’d recommend it to everyone that could do it.
“Planning issues have now been rectified and we’re now going to be doubling the production, along with more areas for livestock and a visitors centre. We’re converting a barn so we can take on educational courses for people wanting to learn about what we’re doing.
“Hopefully it’s also going to evolve into an outside restaurant on the premises as well, where we can use barbecues and pits - we’re going to utilize our space to its full potential.”
As well as the developments to the farming operation, Rogan revealed that five new rooms would be added to the restaurant, taking the total to 17 bedrooms. The chef-patron also recently built another preparation kitchen, allowing him to take on more chefs, apprentices and interns.
Rogan also mentioned ‘a couple of exciting possibilities’ for the new site for his London venture Roganic, which will see its lease expire next June. Earlier in the year, he told BigHospitality he was aiming to bring Roganic closer in style to his restaurants in Cartmel.
The Good Food Guide 2013 honour caps a remarkable year for the chef, who recently appeared on the BBC2 TV series Great British Menu 2012, winning one of the coveted final four spots to cater for a banquet to honour British Olympic athletes.
Great British Menu
“It’s been a very pleasing year and this is just the icing on the cake. The Olympic banquet with Great British Menu was once again another inspirational moment, I was so honoured.
“The programme highlighted a little bit of what we’re doing here at L’Enclume. The brief really played into my hands and I didn’t change to much with my style.
“The main reason I went onto the Great British Menu was to help Rogan & Company – our more simple offering in Cartmel. I did television thinking that if I could bring more people to L’Enclume, it would bring more people to Rogan and Company, and we have.”
Meanwhile, Restaurant Sat Bains, which last year gained its second Michelin star, retained its third place in the Guide. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay stayed in fourth position, scoring nine out of 10.
Nathan Outlaw came in fifth and Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social took sixth place, both of which saw their scores increase from eight out of 10 last year.
The remainder of the top 10 is made up of Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Claude Bosi's Hibiscus, Phil Howard's the Square and Brett Graham's Ledbury - all of which scored eight out of 10.
The Good Food Guide 2013: Top 50 UK Restaurants (last year’s rating in brackets):
1. The Fat Duck, Berkshire (10)
2. L'Enclume, Cumbria (10)
3. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottinghamshire (9)
4. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London (9)
5. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (9)
6. Pollen Street Social, London (9)
7. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire (8)
8. Hibiscus, London (8)
9. The Square, London (8)
10. The Ledbury, London (8)
11. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, London (8)
12. Le Champignon Sauvage, Gloucestershire (8)
13. Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, Buckinghamshire (8)
14. Le Gavroche, London (8)
15. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8)
16. Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (8)
17. The Waterside Inn, Berkshire (7)
18. Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (7)
19. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (7)
20. Pied-à-Terre, London (7)
21. The Kitchin, Edinburgh (7)
22. Murano, London (7)
23. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (7)
24. Gidleigh Park, Devon (7)
25. Fraiche, Merseyside (7)
26. Robert Thompson at the Hambrough, Isle of Wight (7)
27. The Crown at Whitebrook, Gwent (7)
28. The Pass, West Sussex (7)
29. Michael Wignall, the Latymer at Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey (7)
30. Fischer's Baslow Hall, Derbyshire (7)
31. Hambleton Hall, Rutland (7)
32. The Peat Inn, Fife (7)
33. Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Tayside (7)
34. The Old Vicarage, Derbyshire (7)
35. The Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (7)
36. The Hand & Flowers, Buckinghamshire (6)
37. Purnell's, West Midlands (6)
38. Tyddyn Llan, Denbighshire (6)
39. Mr Underhill's, Shropshire (6)
40. Bohemia, Jersey (6)
41. The Sportsman, Kent (6)
42. The Creel, Orkney (6)
43. Simon Radley at Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire (6)
44. The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill, North Yorkshire (6)
45. The Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire (6)
46. Galvin La Chapelle, London (6)
47. Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Cornwall (6)
48. The Box Tree, West Yorkshire (6)
49. Castle Terrace, Edinburgh (6)
50. Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk (6)