Growing up in County Durham, Shaun Rankin knew from early adolescence that he wanted to be a chef. This decision was in part inspired by his experience helping his mother out in the kitchen as a boy, and a number of her cherished recipes – including ham hock soup – were included in his first recipe book, Shaun Rankin’s Seasoned Islands (2010).
Shaun Rankin attended catering college in Berkshire before moving to London to gain practical experience, including a period of time working at the five star May Fair Hotel. He moved to Yorkshire in 1992 to take on position as chef de partie at the Black Bull Inn in Moulton, but before long he was gaining experience all over the world including Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and Fraser’s in Western Australia.
Shaun Rankin moved in 1994 to work at Longueville Manor, Jersey’s most prestigious five star hotel. After eight years at Longueville – and the hotel’s sister restaurant, Sumas – Shaun Rankin was asked to head up the opening of Bohemia in St Helier, the capital of Jersey. Having fallen in love with the island’s way of life and unparalleled produce, Shaun Rankin thrived and the chic restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2005.
With great pride Shaun Rankin opened his own restaurant, Ormer, in 2013 after leaving Bohemia earlier that year. The restaurant, named after a seafood delicacy native to the Channel Islands, more than lived up to expectations and was awarded a Michelin star within four months of opening.
Shaun Rankin’s love for his adoptive home shines through in every dish at Ormer. He has fondly referred to the island as one big kitchen garden, and is a proponent of supporting sustainably-sourced local produce – as any chef would be if they had access to such coveted ingredients as Jersey Royals and asparagus that can be “from field to fork in under an hour”.
When in season, dishes such as the Jersey Royals salad with grilled asparagus and fried duck egg demonstrate just why Shaun Rankin is such a devoted convert to Jersey and the treasures it has to offer. His cooking style reflects the quality of his produce, and dishes are often simple in their approach to highlight the wonderful flavours of his ingredients. With quality and subtlety at the heart of Shaun Rankin’s cooking ethos it comes as no surprise that the chef’s own favourite meal is Lobster and triple cooked chips.