Adventures (7)

Say hello to Simon…

As some of you may know, Jordan has decided to make the break from being a gastro-pub host and part of Peach. If he missed saying goodbye to you, he does send his best wishes.  Although we are sad to lose Jordan, we wish him well on his next adventure. In the last 4 years, the team including Nic, Lizzie, Alisa and Gabby, have made The Chequers a special place – long may it last.

The keen eyed of you will have noticed that Simon has stepped in, to ensure that Chequers remains the best pub around. He joins with a wealth of experience in both the hospitality world and Peach pubs. His settling in has gone very smoothly, and the pub continues to go from strength to strength.

We look forward to seeing you soon enjoying the usual great food and welcome at the bar.

We’ve been asking Simon a little more…simon-headshot

What made you want to follow a career in hospitality?

When I was a little boy my Father quit his job as a senior marketing manager at Findus foods to open a boutique Deli, cheese shop and outside catering business with my mother. They were pioneers in that field, way before supermarkets had exciting cheese counters! They had many wonderful cheeses, meats, home made delicacies and even a pasta machine in the window that wove out beautiful egg pasta right in front of you. It was unbelievable as a child to see, smell and taste that. I think I was hooked from that early age!

 If you’re having a dinner party at home, what do you cook?

It really depends on the season. The most important thing is that guests arrive, we crack open some wine and all sit around a big table. 12 people is a perfect number for me and I like to mix up my guests so I have a millionaire entrepreneur eating next to an old hippie! I find that food, drink, music and laughter breaks down preconceptions that people have about each other. I guess I would cook a slow cooked shoulder of lamb or maybe a beautiful fish stew. I like dishes that people get involved in. There would always be an amazing cheese board to share at some point!

chequers-mobileWhat attracted you to The Chequers?

What’s not to like? It’s an amazing local pub at one end and a beautiful restaurant at the other end so there’s something for everyone. It’s in a wonderful part of the world in a village full of genuinely lovely people who have welcomed me readily. Furthermore I was born in Reigate and went to University in Reading so it feels like I’m coming home!

What’s your biggest achievement?

I have two! First was opening my own restaurant at 25 as chef/owner with absolutely no experience (I too quit a job as a strategic Marketing Manager!) and being named Best Norfolk Restaurant three years later picking up AA rosette success on the way. That was an amazing rollercoaster.

Secondly, and this was earlier in my life, getting to a point where local people in Liege (Belgium) were shocked to find out that I was English because my French was indistinguishable from theirs. Learning French and living abroad opened so many doors to amazing experiences and made me a more genuine person. Also they do have pretty damn good food and wine.

 What makes you stay in hospitality and Peach ?

The people, entrepreneurial spirit, great pubs and amazing guests. You really would be hard pressed to find a better team to work with.

Written by lindseydurrant

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