Chef-restaurateur Simon Rogan is to step away from the Midland hotel in Manchester, three years into a five-year contract.
It has been announced that Rogan, as proprietor of Umbel restaurant group, and the four-AA-star, 312-bedroom property, owned by QHotels, will terminate the contract at the end of October. The decision is said to be mutual and amicable.
Rogan was brought on board in 2013 to breathe new life into the French restaurant, which has been existence since the Midland opened in 1903. A year later, he opened a second outlet at the hotel – the more informal Mr Cooper’s House & Garden.
The news of Rogan’s departure has come as a surprise following the dramatic turnaround in business levels at the French since his arrival, with QHotels reporting a 500% increase in bookings during the first 12 months. However, Rogan’s hope for a Michelin star for the restaurant have not materialised. His attempt to gain a star for Manchester was even chronicled in the 2014 BBC TV series Restaurant Wars, featuring the French and Aiden Byrne’s Manchester House restaurant.
The French originally held a Michelin star for two years following the publication of the first UK guide in 1974.
Adam Reid, head chef at the French during Rogan’s tenure, will remain in the role, while Robert Taylor, who joined the Midland as head chef of Mr Cooper’s in March this year, will also continue in his position.
Set to head up the newly named Adam Reid at the French from 1 November, Reid said he now has “a huge opportunity” to showcase his own cooking style which he has been developing during his career since working with Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor and Brockencote Hall in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, before joining Rogan.
“I want to make Manchester proud and ensure that the French will continue to evolve and impress its local and national customers.”
Adam Reid at the French will be repositioned to reflect the head chef’s vision and style in January 2017. Reid recently reached the final of BBC TV’s Great British Menu, having won the north west heat.
Rogan added: “Our work with the Midland has been a great opportunity and we’ve built something very special with the French and Mr Cooper’s.
“It’s now time to concentrate our efforts on developing and growing our businesses in Cartmel with L’Enclume and Rogan & Co (in Cumbria) as well as ensuring that Fera at Claridge’s (London) continues to be operated to our high standards.”
Mike Magrane, who himself announced earlier this week that he will be leaving his position as general manager at the Midland after 11 years, said it had been “a pleasure” to work with Rogan.
“With his inventive style we have produced something truly wonderful here and we’re now looking forward to embracing the next chapter in the growth of the restaurants.
“Adam is an incredibly strong head chef who has developed further under Simon’s guidance and it’s now time for him to stand on his own and take his place at the forefront of the French’s continuing journey. It is also a terrific opportunity for Robert, who has only recently joined us, to present his own culinary style in Mr Cooper’s.”
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