Cartmel king: Chef of the Year Simon Rogan

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

L'Enclume Simon Rogan named chef of the year National Restaurant Awards three Michelin stars

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L'Enclume's promotion to three-star status this year was just one of a number of reasons why Simon Rogan was named Chef of the Year at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards 2022.

It is difficult to overstate how much of a moment the ascension to three-star status of Simon Rogan’s flagship restaurant L’Enclume is. Opened in Cartmel in 2002 in 800-year-old former blacksmiths (L’Enclume is French for ‘the anvil’) it is unquestionably one of the UK’s most influential places to eat - winning its first Michelin star in 2005 and a second in 2013. Then, after 20 years of operating, this year the restaurant finally received a third star from Michelin’s UK and Ireland, making history as the first restaurant outside London or the Berkshire village of Bray to do so.

Rogan is only the fourteenth chef ever to wear the three-star jacket for a UK restaurant, following in the footsteps of such culinary luminaries as Michel and Albert Roux, Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White. And rightfully so. While the 55-year-old chef keeps a fairly low-profile, he has had a marked and far-reaching influence on the UK’s restaurant scene with his naturalistic cooking and plating style having been replicated up and down the country.

What also makes Rogan stand out, and why he was named this year’s Chef of the Year at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, is that he has always ploughed his own furrow. L’Enclume is unique in that it doesn’t have the feel of a typical three-star restaurant, with its whitewashed walls, tiled flooring, open fires and absence of tablecloths verging on the rustic.

He also has far more control over the produce the kitchen uses than most chefs, with the majority of L’Enclume’s vegetables, herbs and fruits grown at his nearby 12-acre Our Farm, meaning that the restaurant is now close to being self-sufficient.


Rogan has dedicated more of his time to L’Enclume over the past few years, which may have helped with its new three-star status, but it certainly isn’t his sole project. With his Umbel Restaurant Group, he has built a collection of restaurants that spans The Lake District and Hong Kong, with other venues that include Rogan & Co, his a more relaxed ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant; Roganic in Hong Kong; chef’s table and development kitchen concept Aulis in Soho; Henrock, located within Linthwaite House hotel; and The Baker & The Bottleman, a Hong Kong-based bakery by day and a natural wine bar by night.

Moreover, the business had great success during lockdown with its at-home meal kits​.​ While a lot of restaurants and restaurant groups have quietly ditched their pandemic-born meal kits, Umbel Restaurant Group is keeping it going, with the company recently moving its operation to a 22,000sq ft industrial unit a few miles away from Cartmel.

All this together marks Rogan out as a chef and restaurateur with a keen business mind but who has hasn’t stopped trying to push the boundaries - and himself – in pursuit of excellence. Rogan is a chef who leads by example where others follow.  

Related topics: Profiles, Chef



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