Head chef Simon Bolsover shares some thoughts about food, seasonality and the pleasure of creating a new menu at The Hereford restaurant at the newly refurbished Green Dragon Hotel in Hereford

Simon Bolsover has recently been appointed as head chef at the Green Dragon Hotel in Hereford.

With over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Simon will manage the culinary programme of the new dining experience at the hotel as well as the catering for private functions and events. 

He was born in Yorkshire and most recently worked as executive head chef at the the Coniston Hotel and Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa, having previously worked alongside Raymond Blanc and Keith Floyd. 

With Simon’s guidance and his drive for gastronomic excellence visitors to the Green Dragon Hotel can expect to see a radical change in the menu with the launch of the new Hereford focused on modern British dining.

Local and seasonal will be at the heart of the menu, and Simon is excited to work with local growers and producers to celebrate Herefordshire’s rich larder. 

On moving to the Green Dragon, he has changed nothing about his way of working: "My ethos hasn't changed which is 'work hard and be nice to people', which should be adapted to any workforce.

"I'm very proud of what we as a team have accomplished in three very short months, and we've created a positive much-needed vibe within the city itself. 

Q&A with Simon Bolsover

Do you have a favourite time of year for produce?
Favourite time of year has to be the springtime, especially when the English asparagus starts to shoot. That's when most chefs and kitchens start to get excited.

Do you have a favourite menu?
Not really. I just appreciate great local produce cooked really well.

Do you get wow moments when you try new combinations – and does anything stand out as having been especially successful?
Planning out the new menu for the Hereford has been great fun and our modern take on a bistro classic, the fishcake, is delicious, using freshwater prawns and salmon served with a classic thermidor sauce and watercress oil, amazing! 

Who is your cooking role model?
My cooking role model was Marco Pierre White when I was at college, but I also met and cooked with the late Keith Floyd. My two sons, William and Benjamin, will never forget when I turned up at my family home with Floyd after work. I appreciate any chef who is respectful of his surroundings and the people around us.

Are there cookery books you regularly read? Which books would you advise home cooks to have on their shelves?
I have more than 1,000 cookbooks from the majority of our industry leaders. Most get a flick through on a regular basis, but it's always fun to pull out the Practical Cookery once in a while as it was the Bible when I was learning as a young cook.

What’s the best thing about being a chef?
I love the hospitality industry, and being a creative chef is rewarding and changeable every day, thinking on your feet continuously and adapting to all situations. Social media has become a serious platform to share your food, so tech has changed the industry enormously since I started. 

What’s the worst thing about being a chef?
Worst… has to be the expression “Chef's Shortage”, long working hours and family time missed which you will never get back. Balance is extremely important in life and it’s how you manage your time with your family is the most important. 

Sweet or savoury?
Savoury, always.

Guilty food secret?
Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle. Ssshhh.

Marmite – love it or hate it?
Love cooking with Marmite but you won't find me spreading it thickly on toast in the morning.