British chef Simon Rogan and Tom Barnes highlighted the importance of local, authentic, and natural ingredients during the panel discussion “Food and Nature: The Significance of Biodiversity at Simon Rogan’s ‘Farm’. Rogan is most renowned for his farm-to-table approach, emphasizing the use of local and seasonal produce. He has been recognized with numerous accolades for his cuisine, including three Michelin stars for his restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel, making it the only restaurant outside of London to receive this prestigious title three times. Rogan began his culinary career in London, working at several prestigious restaurants before relocating to Cumbria, where he opened L’Enclume in 2002 intending to promote a more sustainable and locally-sourced approach to food production in this picturesque rural part of England.
The restaurant quickly gained a reputation for its innovative cuisine. In addition to his restaurant work, Rogan has appeared on several television shows, including the BBC’s “Great British Menu” and “MasterChef,” and has published “Rogan: The Cookbook,” which showcases his comprehensive farm-to-table approach to cooking.
Simon Rogan explained his approach, saying, “For me, the mission was to find the right place and enhance the natural biodiversity of the location. Planning was crucial in growing produce in the way nature intended – without chemicals and pesticides.” Preserving and promoting local biological diversity lies at the heart of his culinary policy, and during the panel, he presented interesting and somewhat forgotten methods to achieve this. “One of the best ways to prevent pest damage is through crop rotation, as each vegetable usually has specific pests that go away once new vegetables sprout.” The return to locality also involves the resurgence of certain techniques that have been somewhat forgotten due to technological advancements in recent decades.
Although these methods’ effectiveness has been proven repeatedly, they often go unnoticed in a world that prioritizes efficiency and scale over sustainability and locality. On the contrary, the path to sustainability and locality is not easy and often not profitable initially. However, despite the obstacles, there are no shortcuts if we truly want to achieve a higher level of sustainability. The audience was treated to a live culinary demonstration by the mastermind behind L’Enclume restaurant, Simon Rogan, and his right-hand man, executive chef Tom Barnes. The duo whipped up a selection of the eatery’s signature dishes, including a mouth-watering artichoke vinegar reduction and a beetroot gratin with a contemporary twist on an age-old recipe.