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Posts posted by chefsimon

  1. Nico Ladenis had 3 stars, Richard Neat 2 :raz:

    No that came later. Nico's *** were when he was at the Grosvenor House.

    I'm talking about the mid-eighties when he had ** in London (I think Lordship Lane, but it could have been Rochester Row) and tried to ship out to Reading.

    At the same time I think he help running some of the previous establishments as Simply Nicos or thereabouts. But the whole empire-building thing never worked. Eventually he sold out entirely (although bizarrely they kept the Simply Nico brand name... I still remember one up Clerkenwell/Barbican way int he late nineties) and in time retrenched back to London, and the glory that was Chez Nico at Ninety.

    Richard Neat I am thinking of when he had * at Neat in Cannes (yes he did previously have ** at Pied a Terre) and then tried to migrate that back to London. I think he said he was going to be commuting madly between Oxo Tower and Cannes but again without the support it never really worked out (did Neat at Oxo ever get its * before it closed? can't remember).


    PS yes Aikens retained the ** Richard Neat had, but I always think its a bit tough to deny him the honour of retaining them. Similar logic to whether Alain Roux has inherited his *** at the Waterside and Phillippe Rochat has inherited his from Girardet. Can argue about this til cows come home.

    I agree he did retain them but he still would of been inspected, probably more closely the year he took over so i dont think you can take them away from him

    Where as i think at winteringham fields when the young lad took over the 2 stars they did take one away from him

    On the Tom Aikens subject i eaten there five times since it opened and the first meal blew me away about 2 months after it opened and since then then they have got worst and worst!!!

  2. I have read egullet for a while but this thread urged me to join.  It worries me that you seem to expect a star next year as if then all your worries will be over.  I am of the opinion that far too many chefs cook for michelin and this is not particularly good for the customer.  Also with an ever changing and secretive criteria created by michelin it's hard to know how to get a star these days.

    If the only thing you focus on is pleasing your customers then they will come back and give you repeat business, it will be slow at first but will pay off in the end.  Take the advice on this thread it is all sound.  All chefs know how much divers are but customers don't give a toss, what are you going to do advertise the cost price so that the customers know which dishes are better value comparitively?

    When you have lots of happy punters the critics will come, if they don't like you it doesn't matter because you are busy anyway.  If they come too early and don't like you it could break the business.

    Remember, we cook for a living, we are not superstars

    Yes i would like a star next year but no where have i said that that would mean all worries are over, a michelin star doesnt necerrsarrily mean a successful business, and i d definatly rather a successful business, and whats all the superstar crap at the end?

  3. I would agree with everybody here. Your prices are way over the top. I don't care how many stars some of your brigade once had. At the moment you have none.

    Egullet is offering you a serious opportunity here. Take their advice. Slice 30% off those prices. Drop some luxury ingredients if needs be. Ease back on the number of staff needed to execute it. Make your point through consistency and proficiency and start adding the bells and whistles as you get the customers.

    IF i was to come to your place and, at those prices, found a single fault, I would put you over the spit and bbq you.

    Nothing personal; it's business.

    Well i ll definatly be taking advice from averybody here. i m not to proud and i do appreciate it, i want to make it clear though i wasnt justifying prices by the staff i have, i ll take in to acccount what people say and push on from there



  4. I can only second Matthew's sound advice.

    It's a bit difficult to comment without knowing what the principal assumptions are that underpin your business plan. However, (and this is no comment on the quality of what you're offering)

    - at first glance, I would say everything looks about 30% too expensive

    - aim for those prices when you're established, but to start with them is very "brave". I know that area a bit and it's no surprise that it hasn't been the epicentre of fine dining: many of the people round there like to spend money on shiny cars and cosmetic surgery rather than grand gastronomy. (And before anyone says anything, that's not meant to be gratuitously offensive, just a statement of opinion). In fact, Mrs Algy was brought up not far from there. Moving quickly on.

    - I'm not sure what assumptions you've made about volumes, but there's likely to be a massive difference in potential volumes between weekday and weekend.

    - the brasserie is a good idea, but how are you making sure that both offerings are distinctive, but linked? Are the premises adjacent? Will those who try the brasserie get a sense of what's available in the restaurant?

    - my earlier point about location was meant to be helpful: so is this. Your website should let people know when you're open!

    Good luck

    Thanks for the advice

    its in the same building, main entrance then to the right brasserrie and sofas for drinks and then the main dining room is off to the left, same toilets etc etc

    People who try the brasserrie do get a sencse of the main restaurant and then the majority of brasserrie customers will book a table for the fine dining, which we hoped would happen



  5. Hate to say this but the pricing on that menu, IMO, is too high. Without a Michelin star to back that up averaging £14 for a starter is optimistic in a location like Limpsfield. £17 for scallops :shock:

    As a comparison the (2*) Square charges £80 for 7 course tasting menu, your 6 course tasting menu is £68. :hmmm:

    Please note that I'm not saying the cooking isn't up to it (I've no idea) just that I would think it may be a struggle to attract customers in a that sort of location, I hope I'm wrong :smile:

    Edited to add: Actually you don't necessarily need a Michelin star (though it would possibly help) but I would have thought that you would need some good reviews before you can go to those prices.

    Dear Matthew

    I do agree were not cheap, and thats why we offer the cheaper brasserrie aswell

    I m intrested in your opinions on Limpsfield, because it is one of the most affluent areas in Surrey and we are surrounded by money

    Also your shock at the price of Scallops do you know how expensive hand dived scallops are?

    Maybe i need to offer more explanation on the tasting menu as its more like 10 course you would get

    Yep we do need to get some reviews and i had a michelin star before i went to work in Shanghai so hopefully one will come next year, all the brigade have got michlen experience, 2 of them 3 star and the restaurant manager who starts tuesday, fingers crosssed (dont get me on to restaurant managers) is ex manoir, waterside and Ducasse, so hopefully we have got things in place to move forward

    I am also looking at the pricing to put on a couple of cheaper starters

  6. just send them this from your website.......should do the trick..........

    'Simon having continuously sought to initiate, develop and deliver cuisine of the highest standard in the course of his hectic and widely varied career to date, then returned to his home Country in search of a new challenge that would enable him to take the next major step forward in making his name synonymous with a restaurant of the style and dimension seldom seen in the UK.  This has now brought him together with the innovative talents of Patricia A Douglas proprietor of the startling new venture Alexanders at Limpsfield where Simon has absolute control over all matters gastronomic.

    Simon has developed an individual style incorporating all the classical factors but with a modern and unique elegance which he intends to continue to shape and mould as his reputation at Alexanders flourishes.'

    Sorry everybody web site been delayed and will not be finished toatally till next week should of beeen done yesterday, pictures etc and more info to go on there

    Will be getting better!!

  7. Just opened a new restaurant just outside of London in the Surrey commuter belt, whats the best way to get the critics and writers through the door?  For some publicity

    This is without using a PR agency as they are ridiculously priced!!

    All suggestions would be welcome



    make sure that every time that you come on places like this you mention the name of your restaurant and where it is - "just outside of London in the Surrey commuter belt" is teasing, but people could spend a long time trying to find you.

    Dear Algy



    High Street



    RH8 0DR

    01883 714365

    Hope you find that a bit more exacting :raz:

  8. Advertise! Advertise ! Advertise!

    Without wanting to debate the definition of advertising (after all what is PR?), I'd be very wary of direct advertising. I always think ads are a last resort for a restaurant and a piss poor substitute for good word-of-mouth.

    From a business perspective a full restaurant should be a successful restaurant, even if many chefs consider anything less than an eponymous TV show as a humiliating failure.

    Word of mouth is definatly getting round Zoticus, just could do witha bit of a boost, new business, January and all that!!!

  9. Hello,

    Dont forget its not always great to have restaurant critics in!!  I have to say that in my opinion I would never offer freebies to entice a critic as you can never be certain of an honest review if the meal wasnt paid for.  To echo Zoticus, the best PR you can get is that of happy punters, get enough of those talking and the critics will soon follow.

    Or you could always throw the first critic out, call the newspapers and wait for the frenzy of journalists that follow!!

    Or, even better, ban all food journos, then they'll be desperate to get in.

    good luck

    Thanks Claire

    I definatly wouldnt offer them anything for free, but i like the idea of throwing them out, The reason i wan thtem in is for the national coverage as i ve had a bit before and the affect it has on the business is amazing, we, ve settled in quietly since nov getting all the staff stable etc, finally got a restaurant manager on thrid attempt, terrible luck and really want to crack on now with the guides etc and increase the business

  10. Thanks Simon, doesn't exactly sound like a great career move though. Shame, I've heard he's a good person.

    Yeah not really i dont know him personnally but i heard the same from a good friend who still does a bit of work for heston but from what i been told he wants to do his own pub thing, so not really sure how this is helping unless he now has a financial involvement,

  11. It seem that Dominic Chapman is no longer cooking at the Hinds Head Hotel. Does anyone what he's doing or the circumstances of his departure?

    i ve been told he has gone to micheal parkinsons pub, The Royal Oak, near Holyport i believe,i was also told he just decided he d had enough at the hinds head

  12. As for most undeserved Michelin star my vote goes to The New Angel in Darthmouth, two stars Midsummer House Cambridge and three stars...haven't eaten in any! Bib is the Mistley Thorne.

    Really? :unsure:

    I thought it was one of the best restaurants I've been to in ages.

    Totally agree Scott

  13. In my view, Michelin in England is overratted. Places with 1 star in Italy and France are better than English 2 or 3 stars. We're getting better but we are not there yet.

    that's a fairly controversial view, especially seeing as how well documented the erratic nature of italian "starred" restaurants is.

    were there any in particular you were thinking of?

    Totally agree scott, when there is a lot of people that would say its easier to get a star in france with rustic french regional cooking!

    I think michlin is going to be one nobody can ever understand totally!!

  14. QUOTE(BertieWooster @ Jan 25 2007, 05:46 AM)

    But surely if the staff don't care, then it isn't the sort of place that should get within a whisker of a Michelin as the atmosphere and service standards would presumably be lower?

    Though I suppose one can be professional without being passionate. But I always feel the passion levels for the staff are what really marks out a v.good place from just a good, professional, one.

    i ll re iterate what i said when you get to a level you need to have staff there who want to be there and for the right reasons, not part timers or students wanting to earn extra money, you need people who want to make a career out of it, so as you rightly say if you not got those people you going to have problems bertie

    Its amazing what a thankyou, a beer and a bit of respect does Ravelda

    I completely agree - sadly a lot of restauranteurs don't seem to realise that choosing the best staff, paying them well and treating them with respect costs less in the long run a they don't take fake sick days, they want to work hard and therefore give customers a better experience, and they stay, thereby reducing the cost of finding and training new staff.

  15. As with any other form of employment, "you pay peanuts you get monkeys", waiting staff are not exactly the highest paid people around and no-one is really serious about making a career of it. And why should you get excited when your already wealthy boss gets another award? None of the stars or bibs adds to your pay packet. That's why students "wanting to earn a bit of extra cash" are as good as it's going to get until pay improves.

    I find that quite ridiculous, course people are serious about it everyone has to start some where where do think the restaurant managers of today at the 12 and 3 star places started?

    They didnt just become a 3 star restaurant manager, of course you get excited when you get awards, your part of that team, i ve been in teams and i ve had teams that have won awards and believe me i got excited when i was part of a team that won a star and also when i won a star as head chef, Also not all bosses are wealthy and something very important a michelin star does not neccerssarrily mean a successful business!!!!!!

    How do you think people get to be the boss who wins the awards,which they can only do with a core of staff who want the same thing, again you gotta start somewhere, i can only imagine you have never worked or ever had an insight into restaurants, which seems a bit strange as we are on a restaurant forum martin wa

  16. But surely if the staff don't care, then it isn't the sort of place that should get within a whisker of a Michelin as the atmosphere and service standards would presumably be lower?

    Though I suppose one can be professional without being passionate. But I always feel the passion levels for the staff are what really marks out a v.good place from just a good, professional, one.

    i ll re iterate what i said when you get to a level you need to have staff there who want to be there and for the right reasons, not part timers or students wanting to earn extra money, you need people who want to make a career out of it, so as you rightly say if you not got those people you going to have problems bertie

  17. I don't disagree at all Nikkib - I think gendering the right kind of atmosphere and level of pride in the place of work is paramount - that is what helps you through the hard times and creates loyalty.  For all that people say against Ramsay, largely due to the caricature that has been portrayed in the press (at his will I am sure), he has always celebrated success with his staff and looked after them, and that is why so many of them have been with him for so long.

    Totally agree Ravelda, just look at aubergene when everybody walked with him, thats loyalty and the people that were with him then, where they are now, Neil Ferguson, Mark Askew Angela, Sarge

    When you get to a level at a restaurant the staff need to be there for the right reasons, not just people wanting to earn a bit of extra cash

    I use to work at royal hospital road when he only had that restaurant and the staff loyalty was phenominal, he was there every day then and did most service, he d be in in the morning and shake everybodies hand ask you how you were etc, he cared, i m not taking anything away from him but i believe its a very different story now for obvious reasons, Tv

  18. you know what - a lot of restaurant staff don;t give a monkeys unless it will benefit them directly through an increase in wages.

    This is very true. To an overworked staff, an important award like this just means yet more work.

    Well if they dont want to be there there in the wrong trade!!!!!so leave

  19. Well who d wanna be working in Tom Aikens this morning ?Definatly not me

    Glad it didnt get 2 stars, dont think it deserves, my meals have deteriated since i ate there one month after opening till now

    Chapter one deservedly lost its star, my pastry chef seemed very pleased as hes still nursing wounds on his body from his time at  Chapter one a couple of years ago

    Very well done to Arbutus, great couple of meals there, maybe need to brush up on the service,

    I was going to book dinner at petrus next month, but dont know i ll be afford it anymore, intresting to see if the prices go up?

    Unlucky to Marc Wilkinson again at Fraiche i m sure he ll get one soon

    Drakes on the pond has anyone eaten there recently, very surprised still 1 star?

    The Tasting menu at Petrus is £80 for 8 courses - A la carte is £60 and it was by far and away the best meal I ate in London last year simply outstanding, the wine list has plenty of choice on it for those of us who cannot afford Chateau Petrus (yet!) too, We had a table at 7pm and left at nearly midnight what with ordering a middle course on top of cheese and a tour of the kitchen.Cannot recommend it highly enough.

    valentines day for my girlfriend it is then!some funny day in feb bein a chef, she can have a special one on the 19th or something!!

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