Meet Chris Simon, Owner and Head Chef of The White Hart Hotel, Modbury
Chris is originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands and has lived in Australia, Barcelona and Antigua. Starting his cooking journey in South Devon, being a chef has taken him all over the world from cooking on super yachts in the Caribbean to learning butchery in a small shop just outside Cannes, France. The thrill of always learning and pushing himself has led him full circle back to sunny Devon cooking his own food in his own small country pub, The White Hart Hotel in Modbury.
What prompted you to become a chef?
I wasn’t meant to be a chef early on but let’s just say I wasn’t the school type. After working behind bars for a few years I stumbled into what I thought was just another pub job. Turns out some pubs do real nice food. I found myself going home and trying to cook what I saw coming out of the kitchen (with various degrees of success) I found my passion in food and the ability to take beautiful ingredients and create delicious dishes that make people indulge in the enjoyment of dining. Years of practice, reading cookbooks and going back to school I started to figure it out and never looked back.
What has been your proudest moment in your career?
My proudest moment in my career so far is a hard one to choose as being a chef has opened an incredible amount of opportunities to me. I have been able to travel the world cooking the finest foods in the most incredible locations. I would have to say owning my own business and being able to create in my own space and receiving such generously given high praise for what I have built from scratch. Winning such awards as Food Drink Devon’s Best Pub was a hugely proud moment for me especially having my family there to enjoy the moment with me.
What makes Devon such a great place to work as a chef?
Devon has awarded me with some of the best produce in the world. Giving the most generous pantry of foods to work with, making my job incredibly rewarding as creating dishes comes so easy. The local suppliers are a pleasure to work with and their passion in their product shows very clearly.
Where would you go to dine out on a night off?
Lympstone Manor. Amazing food put together with such talent and creativity set in an amazing location. What more could you ask for?
What is your favourite Devon ingredient/product to use in your dishes? And why?
By far the local hand dived scallops. They are some of the best I’ve tasted and have been a firm favourite with all our guests. The delicate sweet flavour works so well with so many ingredients, whether local wild garlic made into an emulsion or an Indian inspired curry flavoured almond crust. They are delicious!