Great British Menu star Simon Rogan, 44, is expanding his business in Cartmel, Cumbria. Catering for both tourists and locals alike, Rogan now offers the complete holy trinity of Cumbrian hospitality: a world famous 5AA rosettes, 2 Michelin-starred L’Enclume restaurant, a relaxed Rogan & Co restaurant, and now a local village pub, the Pig and Whistle, joins his culinary family.
The Pig and Whistle has been Simon’s local watering hole ever since he and his partner Penny Tapsell moved to the village ten years ago. Not content with being a regular customer, Rogan is determined to restore the Pig and Whistle to its former glory - a traditional ‘local villager’s pub’.
“Having thirty years experience and two other hospitality businesses within the village means we have a good hold on things generally. We are aware of the trends, peaks and troughs that come within this industry and especially within this area. We also know the locals and have socialised with them at length during our time here in Cartmel. They want a presence and a personality in their pubs and this is exactly what we will give them at the Pig and Whistle.”
And it’s not just the locals that Simon Rogan will be trying to impress; it’s the tourists as well:
“The first thing our guests ask us when they check into our accommodation at L’Eclume is ‘where can we go for a good drink?’ In the past we have always recommended other people’s pubs, now we can recommend our own.”
Located on the edge of the village, the Pig and Whistle, which is owned by Robinsons Brewery, serves a fine selection of cask ales and has the capacity to cater for 50, as well as a large south-facing garden overlooking the idyllic panorama of Cartmel Valley and the rolling Cumbrian peaks.
“It’s one of four pubs in the village,” explains Rogan. “It has lots of charm, it’s small and quaint and when it came up for grabs we felt we had to have it. And best of all, it’s just a stone’s throw away from our own front door.”
Rogan will close the pub for a mild refurbishment before reopening it on 12th October.
“We will be giving the ground floor a new lick of paint, new carpets, new curtains and furniture, a new bar area, and, in short, a new lease of life... just a little statement to say we are here! Once we have a firm handle on things we will then look at how we can make improvements to the layout and flow – starting with a brand new conservatory overlooking those beautiful gardens next spring."
Praised for his technical brilliance and renowned for his meticulous ability to blend unusual ingredients, tastes and textures, Simon Rogan has been dubbed “one of the most innovative chefs in the country” by the Guardian, and his restaurants are famous for producing some of the most remarkably original menus around.
Rising through the ranks under notorious celebrity chef Marco Pierre White and John Burton-Race, Rogan soon developed an urge to experiment with flavours, play tricks on the senses and create his own astonishing signature dishes.
Now acknowledged up and down the country in his own right, 2012 has been a big year for Simon Rogan: winning the dessert course for BBC Two’s Great British Menu 2012 (a banquet in honour of the British Olympic athletes) and also receiving one of the greatest accolades a chef can hope for – a perfect 10 from The Good Food Guide – equalling Heston Blumenthal’s top score, a feat which hasn’t been achieved since 2006.
Undoubtedly, his new venture at this little village pub in Cartmel will result in big expectations...but Rogan plans to keep things relatively simple:
“We aim to keep it simple: local and traditional. It will be home-cooked, gutsy food with Cumbrian flair and artisan ales. Value for money and memorable service,” explains Rogan. “We will continue to stick to our principles and beliefs which are to use and promote local suppliers ... and of course utilising some of the ingredients from our own farm here in the village.”
To find out more about Simon Rogan and his restaurants, visit http://simonrogan.co.uk/