1 Michelin Star Chefs: Chris Simpson, head chef, Pensons

The  Staff Canteen

Chris Simpson is the head chef at Pensons in Tenbury Wells. 

Chris took over from Lee Westcott in January 2020 when the chef left to pursue other opportunities in his home city of London - which isn't to say that Chris won't hit the mark at Pensons.



Pensons Yard, Tenbury Wells WR15 8RT

Telephone: 01885 410321

Website: https://www.pensons.co.uk/

Reservations:  opentable.co.uk

Pensons is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch from Thursday to Sunday.

Front of house manager:  Jim Conway

Twitter: @PensonsUK

Instagram: @pensonsrestaurant


Facebook: @pensonsrestaurant

Career so far

A very high-calibre chef in his own right, Chris spent twelve years earning his stripes alongside Nathan Outlaw, first at Black Pig in Rock, then at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, where he was head chef for seven years, during which it secured two Michelin stars. 

Chris then moved to Devon in January 2018, succeeding Michael Wignall at Gidleigh Park, where he earned a Michelin star just nine months later.

However, in January 2019, he decided to move on and left his place to Chris Eden

His love for Cornish produce, and namely its seafood, has followed him, and explains why he has chosen not to stray too far from his cherished region. 

The restaurant 

Pensons opened in January 2019 on the 1200-acre Netherwood Estate on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.

Once a derelict disused barn, it was successfully refurbished and given a modern decor, with its original features embellished and emphasized to conserve its rustic charm. It is a bed and breakfast as well as a restaurant.

Its flourishing kitchen garden provides a fair share of the food on the menu, with the remaining sourced in the local area. 

As well as being awarded a Michelin star in its first year, it was named Best Food & Drink business in Herefordshire and earned Best Restaurant at the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards in 2019.

What the guides say




The Food

Chris' food at Pensons is true to that of his predecessors, celebrating the quality of the Netherwood Estate's own produce and ingredients local to the area.

Customers are given a choice of a three-course tasting menu, available on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and at lunchtime, for £55 and £38 respectively, or a seven-course tasting menu for £80, or £60 at lunchtime. 

The restaurant's website warns that the menu may be changed daily - but a sample includes dishes like cod with jerusalem artichoke, chicken dressing and seaweed, or spiced red wine pear, vanilla pannacotta, gingerbread, with a British cheese selection priced at £12. 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th January 2021

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Chris Simpson, head chef, Pensons