May 4 2022 Business Insights

Chris Simpson is the distinguished chef at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurant Pensons at the Netherwood Estate, near Bromyard. 

We asked Chris to tell us about his day in this amazing restaurant that boasts both a green Michelin star as well as the traditional red star for food

Tell us a bit about your attraction.

Pensons is an ingredient-led, Michelin-starred restaurant that celebrates the finest seasonal produce, cooked in a simple but sumptuous style.

We believe that great cooking starts with quality ingredients and are proud to boast a Michelin green star for sustainability, one of just 31 in the country. We grow our own fruit and vegetables wherever possible, and our meat comes from carefully selected local butchers and farmers.  Our fish comes from boats in Cornwall, using sustainable fishing methods and is delivered fresh to us overnight.

As well as fine dining, Pensons also boasts two beautiful bedrooms so diners can enjoy a luxury break in the Herefordshire countryside.

Guests can also tour the restaurant’s kitchen gardens, as well as visit Pensons’ Concept Store that stocks handpicked and handmade artisanal pieces and products.


How do you recharge during the morning?

As well as the restaurant, we have two rooms for overnight guests here at Pensons and so we are usually busy cooking breakfast, and then prepping for lunch and dinner. Preparing Michelin-starred level food for a restaurant full of people is an intense job and you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal at any point. The adrenaline of impending service keeps me going, that and the occasional cup of tea.


What’s your favourite lunch-time snack?

As you’d expect, chefs always work through lunch as we have guests to feed.  We don’t usually eat until around 5pm when the last Pensons’ lunch guests have left.

What’s your average afternoon routine?

We like guests to take their time to enjoy each course, so we tend to be busy cooking and serving until the late afternoon. The team then thoroughly cleans the kitchen before starting all over again for the evening service. We usually all eat together in the break, joining with Pensons’ brilliant front of house team, taking a few minutes to relax before refocusing on the next service.


How do you chillax at the end of the day?

During the week I tend to just head home and get some sleep ready for the next day. As well as working long hours in the kitchen, my mind is always whirring, thinking about new recipes, as well as other day-to-day practical challenges such as ordering produce and adjusting budgets and schedules.

When we close up on Sundays we tend to take some time out to relax together. It’s particularly lovely as we head towards summer and can sit out in the courtyard together and enjoy a glass of wine or one of our signature cocktails.


What’s your favourite part of what you do?

At Pensons I take great pride in showcasing local produce and it gives me great pleasure to work with the gardening team, not to mention local suppliers such as Little Pomona Cider, Legges, and Huntsham. Having an open kitchen means I get to see diners enjoying that produce and the meals my team has cooked for them.

As a younger chef, I loved travelling the world and enjoying new feast and flavour experiences. Those adventures shaped the chef that I am today.

Chris Simpson and Pensons Restaurant

Pensons prides itself on its admirable ‘estate to plate’ ethos and is one of just 31 restaurants in the country to achieve a green Michelin star as well as the traditional red star for food. Since taking over the kitchen nearly two years ago, Chris has been working closely with the Netherwood gardening team to ensure its bountiful kitchen garden produces a varied harvest for its award-winning menus.

Chris is an incredibly experienced and celebrated seafood chef. He worked with NathanOutlaw for a decade, including as head chef at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall, when the restaurant earned its two Michelin Stars. Before relocating to Bromyard, Lancashire born Chris was head chef at Gidleigh Park, Devon, which was also awarded a Michelin Star under his tenure.

Chris has also worked in Edinburgh at Restaurant Martin Wishart and has spent time abroad, including working in Rotterdam and Australia.

Chris elevates seasonal ingredients to extraordinary levels, whether that’s a simple spring carrot or an earthy autumn mushroom. He has a reputation for classic cooking with modern overtones that both surprise and delight.