He began cooking at an early age (“I was just a passionate home cook as a lad… my Mum didn’t cook on Sundays so someone had to!”) and even made an appearance on Junior Masterchef as a finalist in 1997.
He sharpened his skills working at Danesfield House and subsequently took a job as Demi Chef de Partie at Alan Murchison’s L’Ortolan. Murchison is a famously doughty taskmaster, but Fanning prospered under his leadership and still credits him as a key mentor.
In fact, it was Murchison that gave Fanning his first chance to become a Head Chef at Bedfordshire’s evocative Paris House in 2010. Fanning was just 29 at the time but critics realised his special talent at once, awarding him a Michelin star and an Acorn Award (which recognises culinary talent under 30) within his first year at the Woburn property.
A lot has changed for Fanning since then, though, as he now owns Paris House – buying out Murchison in 2014 – and has stepped up to the role of Executive Chef (though he still works the pass on most days).
While Paris House’s menus are distinctly contemporary in style, they do not fall into the trap of being modern for the sake of being modern. Instead, he tempers his classical French roots with more far-reaching ingredients and an eye for theatrical mischief, which results in imaginative creations like Hogget mezze with falafel, Snail garden and a transcendent Ham, egg and chips.