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EXCLUSIVE: Michelin Chef Rogan At The Midland

How did the star chef come to slip between the soft sheets of the grand old dame of Manchester hotels?

Written by . Published on December 17th 2012.


EXCLUSIVE: Michelin Chef Rogan At The Midland

"SIMON ROGAN will be looking after two restaurants in the Midland for us," says general manager, Michael Magrane, "The French and former Colony. This is not only exciting for us we think, but also for Manchester.

"We know he's pretty excited too. I've been amazed about the research he's already done on the history of the hotel and the traditions with which it's associated."

Simon's already been experimenting with the menus, " says Magrane. "He'll be using his own supplies from his own farm and other regional suppliers. He's looking to create something specifically Mancunian as a signature dish

Simon Rogan, chef-patron of the two-starred Michelin restaurant L'Enclume in Cartmel, is not wrong to be excited about working at the Midland. It has real form, as of course does he. This could be a commercial marriage made in heaven. 

Rogan, left, Magrane, rightRogan, left, Magrane, right

The place is the oldest and still the grandest of the major Manchester hotels, dating from 1903. Outside London, its cast of residents, of the great and the good, and the not so great and the not very good, is only equalled by the Adelphi in Liverpool. 

Fortunately the Midland is run by QHotels not The Britannia Group as with the poor Adelphi.

Magrane explains how Rogan came to be interested.

"I went up to Cartmel for dinner and we got chatting. The following day he came down to Manchester and fell in love with The French. It was as straightforward as that. Eventually we started talking about The Colony restaurant as well. 

The French is a special space, exuding comfort and Old European grandeur. It's got charm stitched into the place as well, and comes packaged as an oval, another point of distinction. It was one of the first establishments in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star when the Michelin guide was launched in 1974. In effect it has represented the best in city fine dining throughout much of its 109 years.

L'EnclumeL'EnclumeFor Rogan this breaking news about The Midland rounds off a good year. 2012 has seen L’Enclume achieve a second Michelin star, and a full ‘10 out of 10’ Good Food Guide rating, as well as retaining five AA Restaurant Guide Rosettes. 

“Since getting the second Michelin star, we have had numerous UK-wide opportunities for our next restaurant site,” commented Rogan. “I have always loved Manchester – it’s like being in London, but on a smaller scale. It’s trendy and dynamic, but very accessible and friendly. Overall, the Manchester dining scene has been quite casual and bar-driven, but this is a great opportunity to set the trend for luxury dining, and the city is definitely ready for it.” 

We are.

Let's hope Aiden Byrne can also deliver with the Living Ventures backed Manchester House in Spinningfields. 2013 is looking good.

Rogan will continue to be based in Cumbria of course, but he emphasises that Manchester is close enough to Cartmel for him to have major, on-going input into the new site, but not to be completely distracted from L’Enclume, which is his prime focus. He is assembling a strong chef brigade to work alongside the existing team at The Midland Hotel. 

Food at L'Enclume comes as set menus with multiple courses posted currently, on their website, as lunch, £35, and dinner, £95.

L'EnclumeL'Enclume

"The French will have a similar food set-up as L'Enclume. Simon's already been experimenting with the menus, " says Magrane. "He'll be using his own supplies from his own farm and other regional suppliers. He's looking to create something specifically Mancunian as a signature dish for The French, which will be open from March 2013 for lunch and dinner.

"There are 50 covers in The French. In The Colony (although that's not going to be the name of the new place) he'll be overseeing 150 covers plus 50 in the bar area, 200 in total."

"We want both The French and the new space to retain glamour although the former Colony restaurant will obviously have food at a lower price point, be very broad in its appeal, and be open breakfast, lunch and dinner."  

The FrenchThe FrenchMichael Purtill, Managing Director of QHotels said:  “Simon is a culinary genius, and we’re really proud to be associated with one of the UK’s finest chefs.  This partnership marks a new chapter for the hotel, in particular The French, in modernising our offering within the city. The Midland is already renowned for its fine-dining experience, but this partnership is about offering our guests an experience that cannot be found anywhere else in Manchester.”

Simon Rogan again: “There is huge affection for The Midland Hotel in Manchester, and I want to help bring its restaurants back to their former glory. It’s a wonderful challenge.”

Magrane agrees: "For us to bring in a chef of the quality and calibre of Simon Rogan is great news. It represents the next phase of history for The Midland Hotel."

Of course, for Manchester foodies this all sounds excellent, but there are two key questions.

Can Rogan deliver the same quality in his secondary restaurants as say Blumenthal and Ramsay have done over the years? And will the Manchester public support his efforts? 

Manchester Confidential has a suggestion for Rogan's would-be signature dish. Read this article we published earlier in the year about a recipe created in a very young Midland Hotel.

Midland HotelMidland Hotel

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Dr AHSDecember 18th 2012.

Great news. May fly back form Dubai to sample this. Makes you miss manchester.

Charlie ButterworthDecember 18th 2012.

Dubai bless. A island in the desert waiting for the sand to return built by an autocracy on the backs of indentured (semi-slavery) labour - and with a censored media. Ahs you might as well stay.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Dr AHSDecember 20th 2012.

Its pretty far from an island, maybe oasis would have worked better?

Dr AHSDecember 20th 2012.

Its pretty far from an Island. Maybe Oasis would have fared better.?

Charlie ButterworthDecember 20th 2012.

It's an island of vulgar tat in a pristine and perfectly harmless desert. Either way it's an autocratic, censored, plastic town built on the backs of indentured labour.

GordoDecember 18th 2012.

Now Now Charlie

Gary CrosbieDecember 18th 2012.

Great News, Good luck Mike and the Midland team, From all at Ramparts (Refurbishment Contractor to the Midland Hotel)

TimbucDecember 18th 2012.

Drool.

SimonDecember 19th 2012.

Fantastic news, the best HOtel with the best Dining room is getting the best kind of chef. Not before time.

CulldoggDecember 19th 2012.

Went to L'enclume at the weekend. 16 course amazing extravaganza. Welcome to Manchester Simon!

Dr AHSDecember 20th 2012.

Charlie, you miserable old fool. Has the manchester weather dampened your spirits.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthDecember 20th 2012.

Ahs, you fan of autocracies and indentured labour, I'm as happy as Larry

AnonymousDecember 21st 2012.

TO BE?
"an autocratic, censored, plastic town built on the backs of indentured labour. Or
NOT TO BE?
"a barren, hot, hopeless, empty, lifeless desert"
whats better Charlie?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthDecember 21st 2012.

I think a small fluffy baby owl is better

CastromofoJanuary 2nd 2013.

simon rogan is a genius. i would eat anywhere that bears his name. sublime, clever food and a thoroughly nice fella too.
here's to manchester's first (mich) star.

Geoff HaighMarch 29th 2013.

Went on Wednesday night.
Very disappointed
Six course or ten course tasting menus only.
Mis mash of stupid ideas and tastes that don't go.
Pestered all the time by waiting staff who asked every time what you thought , and then polled a face at your answer.bistro style no table clothes, lights too bright, no background music.felt like a guinea pig in a cage with tasting experiments going on with me.
Have been going to midland French for 25 years.
Will not be going again.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JimMarch 29th 2013.

Went last night. Thought it was fantastic.

Heather TaylorMay 29th 2013.

Come on, confidential, get your act together on your site. We went in March and the interior as completely changed. So should your photo. Interior reminiscent of Ikea. Not French interior or French style food at all.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 29th 2013.

Heather we've written two reviews since then. So they have the up to date pictures. Here's the link to the main review www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Simon-Rogan-at-The-French-Reviewed…

Heather TaylorMay 31st 2013.

Who are "they" regarding pictures? Your site shows old French Restaurant and also talks about French restaurant. The link is also through French restaurants on drop down types of food restaurants. It is not the old French decor or food. It is a weird menu and not at all French. Very misleading and for a French Food Foodie, very disappointing.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 31st 2013.

Heather, try 63 Degrees and you'll be happy. It's on Church Street and is so French it's almost got a striped t-shirt and string of onions

2 Responses: Reply To This...
tblzebraMay 31st 2013.

You forgot the beret JS.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 31st 2013.

Isn't Beret between Rochdale and Bolton?

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