Michelin-starred chef quits in row over 'poncey food'

The Oxford Times: Ryan Simpson Ryan Simpson

A CHEF and his kitchen team have quit just three weeks after winning a Michelin star.

Ryan Simpson and his kitchen and waiting staff left The Goose in Britwell Salome on Saturday, leaving behind a diary full of bookings.

Mr Simpson last night claimed he left after he was told his food was “too poncey” and ordered to focus more on “pub grub” by his boss, property developer Paul Castle.

A spokesman for Mr Castle said there had been a business “disagreement” and the pub was closed for refurbishment.

Mr Simpson, who ran the restaurant with his life partner and sous chef Liam Trotman, revealed he and his team are looking for a new restaurant.

The 27-year-old, of Chestnut Place, Watlington, said: “We just walked out together and said that was it. During the past year we have all put our heart and soul into winning a star and putting the restaurant back on the map.

“But within a couple of weeks we were told to forget everything we had done and to drop down a few levels.

“It was a management dispute and we just weren’t going to stand for it. It’s not what we are about, and it’s not what I want to do.”

The five-strong team are unemployed until they find new premises, and Mr Simpson admitted he may have to get a head chef role in the meantime.

He said: “It’s a real shame in some ways because we were looking forward to taking the restaurant as far as we could.”

Mr Simpson became the third chef in a decade to win a star for the restaurant, following Mike North and Matthew Tompkinson.

He had been at The Goose since June 2008 and also acted as general manager.

His signature dishes included pan-roasted wood pigeon, carpaccio of Chiltern hills muntjac and Britwell Salome pork belly.

Mr Castle’s spokesman Maziar Yazdanian said: “Due to a disagreement between Ryan and Mr Castle regarding the operations of the business Ryan chose to resign his position unexpectedly as executive chef and his resignation became effective on February 6. Ryan asked the other staff members from the kitchen to resign too. As a result of which, The Goose has been forced to close.

“It will undergo a refurbishment and reopen on Monday, March 1. It will be run by Mr Castle as a gastro pub in an identical manner to when it originally won a Michelin star.”

Comments (9)

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8:11am Tue 9 Feb 10

LadyPenelope says...

I'm guessing Mr Castle is too common to appreciate fine food.
I'm guessing Mr Castle is too common to appreciate fine food. LadyPenelope

9:51am Tue 9 Feb 10

old lady says...

Would it be cynical to suggest that once the "star" had been awarded, the menu could revert back to "chips and ----" or will their star be "snuffed out".
Would it be cynical to suggest that once the "star" had been awarded, the menu could revert back to "chips and ----" or will their star be "snuffed out". old lady

5:40pm Tue 9 Feb 10

rowdy says...

One thing I cant stand is pubs trying to be restuarants and charging High prices , value for money they are not . Have been to Fifteen in Watergate Bay - not impressed ...!!!!!!
One thing I cant stand is pubs trying to be restuarants and charging High prices , value for money they are not . Have been to Fifteen in Watergate Bay - not impressed ...!!!!!! rowdy

9:28am Wed 10 Feb 10

online_reader says...

I think the star will stand until they're reassessed, it goes to the restaurant not the chef, however the bookings will rapidly decline with the quality of the food.

Mr Simpson should go to the Feathers in Woodstock, they think they're fine dining but the food's blooming awful and they lost their star years ago.
I think the star will stand until they're reassessed, it goes to the restaurant not the chef, however the bookings will rapidly decline with the quality of the food. Mr Simpson should go to the Feathers in Woodstock, they think they're fine dining but the food's blooming awful and they lost their star years ago. online_reader

9:45am Wed 10 Feb 10

calfox3 says...

LadyPenelope wrote:
I'm guessing Mr Castle is too common to appreciate fine food.
its only fine food in your opinion.
if i got to a pub for a meal i expect pub grub (thats now getting harder to find) because its more filling better value and tastes better (in my opinion) i cant stand the poncey C*** that you pay a small fortune for and all you get is a mouth full of meat with some grass on and a thimble of sause if your lucky. so keep the poncey food in the pocey restaurant.
[quote][p][bold]LadyPenelope[/bold] wrote: I'm guessing Mr Castle is too common to appreciate fine food.[/p][/quote]its only fine food in your opinion. if i got to a pub for a meal i expect pub grub (thats now getting harder to find) because its more filling better value and tastes better (in my opinion) i cant stand the poncey C*** that you pay a small fortune for and all you get is a mouth full of meat with some grass on and a thimble of sause if your lucky. so keep the poncey food in the pocey restaurant. calfox3

9:51am Wed 10 Feb 10

Petre Mcvay says...

Anybody know what a "life partner" is? And the choice of the word poncey to discribe his food could have been better thought out.
Anybody know what a "life partner" is? And the choice of the word poncey to discribe his food could have been better thought out. Petre Mcvay

9:54am Wed 10 Feb 10

EB says...

Petre Mcvay wrote:
Anybody know what a "life partner" is? And the choice of the word poncey to discribe his food could have been better thought out.
A life partner is someone who lives their life with another without being married (or civil partnership, in this case).

...and yes, "poncey" wasn't a good choice of word. The food looks amazing!

I hope these guys go and start their own restaurant elsewhere. Good luck to them.
[quote][p][bold]Petre Mcvay[/bold] wrote: Anybody know what a "life partner" is? And the choice of the word poncey to discribe his food could have been better thought out.[/p][/quote]A life partner is someone who lives their life with another without being married (or civil partnership, in this case). ...and yes, "poncey" wasn't a good choice of word. The food looks amazing! I hope these guys go and start their own restaurant elsewhere. Good luck to them. EB

12:01pm Wed 10 Feb 10

Local Girl26 says...

He was right to quit in my opinion. You don't win a michelin star and then just go to making c*** food. They take time and effort to achieve! "ponsey" was a bad choice of words. I love dining at Michelin star places, to see the love, effort and thought gone into my food. Would much rather eat Michelin star than a dodgy place serving chips where no love has gone into it.
Good luck to them, and look forward to you opening your new place soon.
He was right to quit in my opinion. You don't win a michelin star and then just go to making c*** food. They take time and effort to achieve! "ponsey" was a bad choice of words. I love dining at Michelin star places, to see the love, effort and thought gone into my food. Would much rather eat Michelin star than a dodgy place serving chips where no love has gone into it. Good luck to them, and look forward to you opening your new place soon. Local Girl26

5:02pm Thu 11 Feb 10

talker says...

yeah but the pub will keep the star and he will have to start all over again. I think the chef should be starred and not the venue.
yeah but the pub will keep the star and he will have to start all over again. I think the chef should be starred and not the venue. talker

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