Father's Day: Simon Hulstone, Elephant Restaurant

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th June 2017

Ahead of Father's Day, we thought we’d do something a bit different and ask chefs to tell us about how their dads inspired them to start their career. 

After all, what better way to honour and pay tribute to some great dads and shout out to chef dads everywhere?

First up is Simon Hulstone, chef proprietor of Elephant Restaurant which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UKHis dad Roger Hulstone has been a chef since the age of fifteen and has had quite the impact on Simon’s successful chef career. He told us that although his dad was very busy, they cherished the family time they did get together, as it was always well spent.

salon culinaire competition in Cambridge 1982 !!  Dad won 6 golds that day !! Cold work was also tasted unlike now  Simon Hulstone

Salon Culinaire

competition in Cambridge

1982!  Dad won 6 golds

that day. 

A bit of a rebellious teenager, Simon remembers getting a job as a kitchen porter at The Imperial, part of his dad’s company Forte Hotels. He enjoyed the banter and comradery of the kitchen and he was the main target, being the boss’ son! That didn’t bother Simon and he eventually had an interview for an apprenticeship with Roger’s chef friend Freddie Jones. He left school and began working full-time.

Does your dad still cook, professionally or at home?

My dad hung up his whites two years ago officially, but rather than retire we purchased a tearoom together and he manages a local hotel as general manager. But I think this will be his last season in the trade, it’s time for him to have some proper time away from the industry.

Who does/did he work for?

My father worked for Forte Hotels in my early years, working at The Swan in Lavenham, Brandon Hall in Coventry, and then the Imperial in Torquay. This was before moving to head office as group executive chef, where he was in charge of all the menu-writing and sourcing for the group. He also implemented both an apprentice and graduate chef scheme whilst he was there.

The Graduate Scheme was for sous chefs training to be head chefs - it was a three-year course spending six months at a time in Forte Hotels around the world… working for legends such as Bocuse, Verge and Gerrard! He trained a lot of Britain’s best chefs. Following that he worked for Hilton and then did the same group chef job for Hilton. My father also introduced the Paco Jet to the UK back in the early nineties but it flopped - too clever for its time! 

Chef Simon Hulstone's dad Roger Hulstone with Michel Roux . Krug Champagne chef of the year competition winner judged by Michel Roux Snr

Chef Simon Hulstone's

dad Roger Hulstone

with Michel Roux

Is there a particular dish he taught you to cook?

One dish that has always been a bit of a Hulstone classic is the Rose and Almond Tansy pudding - a simple classic British dessert that both of us have won numerous competitions with. I called my first daughter Tansy, as it had always been a lucky star for us.

Is there a message you’d like to give him for Father's Day?

There’s nothing I need to say to my Dad that he doesn’t already know… apart from – “I still have more hidden letters from the headmaster that you don’t know about, as I mastered your signature when I was 14, and always waited for the postman before going to school!”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th June 2017

Father's Day: Simon Hulstone, Elephant Restaurant