Simon Hopkinson may not be cooking professionally these days, but his food lives on at a new hotel in Gloucestershire.
The former Bibendum chef and award-winning author of Roast Chicken and Other Stories is the consultant chef at the newly opened Montpellier Chapter Hotel in Cheltenham.
Hopkinson has worked closely on the menus with the restaurant's head chef, Tom Rains, and many of the dishes will be familiar to any diners who remember Hopkinson’s cooking at Bibendum.
Starters include potted shrimps with wholemeal toast and scallops cooked in the half shell with garlic and herb butter. Main courses of roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing, bacon and sausage roll and bread sauce or shepherd’s pie with carrot and swede mash might be followed by chocolate mousse, rhubarb crumble with custard or lemon meringue pie.
For Rains – a long-time admirer of Hopkinson – it has been a dream come true to return to the town of his birth and work with one of Britain’s greatest chefs.
“I jumped at the chance,” says Rains. “We have really worked hard to put together a daily changing menu which showcases the best of the British Isles’ ingredients and well-executed dishes full of flavour.”
Hopkinson has been hands-on with the menus and has spent a lot of time at the hotel. Rains has even had to cook for the great chef at the home he shares with his wife.
“I was a bit nervous when I first met Simon,” he admits. “He is such a big name in the restaurant world but very few chefs would have this opportunity and I have learnt so much about cooking from him."
The two chefs have sourced as much produce as possible from the Cotswolds and the immediate area. Poultry comes from Madgett’s Farm in the Forest of Dean, meat from Hill View Farm in Gretton and smoked salmon comes from the Wye Valley.
The Restaurant at The Montpellier Chapter Hotel, Bayshill Road, Montpellier, Cheltenham, GL50 3AS. Tel: 01242 527788 www.chapterhotels.com