Chef Simon Rogan has opened a research and development facility next to L’enclume, his Cartmel-based restaurant with rooms, as well as acquiring an organic farm nearby.
By augmenting both the creative and production-oriented side of his operation, Rogan hopes to become a model for restaurants all over the country, and intends to achieve 75 per cent self-sufficiency in terms of produce.
“These won’t be gardens, this will be very production-oriented,” he said of the farm. “I don’t think there will be anything like it in the country.”
Rogan has been using the facilities at Howbarrow Organic Farm since L’enclume opened in 2002 but by taking over the lease he said he could now bring his company’s professionalism to the set-up. In the coming months, he will be adding two further poly-tunnels at the farm and installing lamps and underground heating in order to prolong the growing season.
The effects of the initiative will be to make L’enclume’s menus “extremely seasonal”, said Rogan. “We will only use an ingredient when it’s at its best and at the actual size and specification we want and we’ll take it out of the ground when it’s ready,” he added.
Rogan will spend two or three hours each day at Howbarrow and the rest of his time at his research facility, developing new ideas with the produce from the farm. “It’s about trying to get back to basics, getting the premium flavour out of simple ingredients,” he said.
He intends to employ a full-time chef to work alongside him in the research facility and estimates the total investment in facility and farm will be £75,000.
This story is in the October edition of Restaurant magazine, out today. To subscribe, click here.