Simon Rogan on winning three Michelin stars at L'Enclume

by Great British Chefs 16 February 2022

Simon Rogan's L'Enclume has been known as one of the UK's best restaurants for a good while, but it's only now – twenty years after it first opened – that it has finally been awarded three Michelin stars. He talks to us about what it means to him and the whole team in Cartmel.

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We've tipped Simon Rogan's Cumbrian restaurant L'Enclume – a place which has (and continues to have) a long-lasting effect on Britain's food scene as a whole – to gain three Michelin stars for a while now, as have many others. In the 2022 edition of the Guide it finally happened, making Simon just the fifth English chef to gain the accolade and L'Enclume to become the first three-starred restaurant outside of London and Bray, Berkshire in Michelin history.

We were the first to talk to Simon after the news was announced – this is what he had to say!

Congratulations! Has it sunk in yet?

Obviously I’m over the moon – it’s a massive honour and I’m really excited. It’s going to take a while to sink in for sure. It’s always been one of my biggest ambitions – I always hoped it would have been a bit earlier to be honest but we got there in the end!

What do you think finally convinced Michelin to give you the third star?

I suppose COVID has been a big factor over the past few years as I’ve not been able to travel, so I haven’t been gallivanting all over the world. It’s the first time I’ve been with the team here constantly, shoulder to shoulder, since 2011 when we opened the first Roganic in London. It’s like we’ve gone full circle back to when we first opened L’Enclume in 2002. Obviously we’ve got a bigger team (and have more customers!) but I’ve really, really enjoyed it.

The team is key – Paul Burgalieres, the head chef at L’Enclume, and Tom Barnes, who looks after all our restaurants in the North West, have been on each of my shoulders and are without a doubt the most talented guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Tom’s been with me for eleven years now, so everyone knows his talent, but he’s also asked me to mention that he’s the most good-looking chef in the whole group of restaurants in the first interview. I won’t comment on that! We’ve also got two amazing sous chefs at L’Enclume, Scott Braithwaite and Alex Rothnie; it’s a bit of a dream team all-round. Everyone has absolutely smashed it, and I think we just really built momentum with our consistency, which took us over the line.

How will you be celebrating?

We’re closed for lunch today so we’re having a little bit of Champagne and a celebration cake, but I’ll be back in service tonight with the team. After that we’ll certainly go and have a few drinks. I’ve actually known the news for the past few days, so my wife Penny and I have been quietly celebrating on our own too.

What's next for L'Enclume?

I always set out to win three Michelin stars, five AA rosettes and a 10/10 in the Good Food Guide – and we’ve done it now. But we’ve still got lots in store for this year, as well as of course maintaining the standards that got us to where we are today. It’s our twentieth anniversary at L’Enclume, so we’ve got lots planned for that, and we have three restaurants in Asia that I haven’t been able to visit for a while. Definitely watch this space – it’s going to be a busy year for us.