Chef and restauranteur Simon Martin launched Mana Restaurant in Ancoats in October 2018 and received critical acclaim for its experimental dishes. Martin, a former semi-professional motocross racer, began his career at sixteen working for Michelin starred chef, Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor. The celebrated chef has worked for Gordon Ramsey in London, Gilpin Lodge and more.
A quick summary of your career and education
I was a semi-professional motocross racer from 11 until leaving school at 16 when I started an apprenticeship with Simon Radley, 1 Michelin star chef at The Chester Grosvenor. I then spent a year working in Australia before returning to the UK at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London. From there I went to Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District followed by an internship at Noma in Copenhagen, where I was offered a position after 3 months; only 1% of interns are offered a permanent position. I stayed for 2 years and whilst with Noma I assisted with the preparation and organisation of launching the pop up in Mexico where I was for 14 weeks. I then came to Manchester to open Mana.
What’s your most significant accomplishment to date?
The launch of Mana restaurant in October 2018.
Who inspires you?
Mark Birchall at Moor Hall, Ormskirk
How has living and working in Manchester helped you achieve your goals?
Mana is in a facility where I get to live in the same building and the community has been extremely welcoming to what they must class as a foreigner from Shropshire. Manchester being a fantastic transport hub with an international airport, railway access and motorways, allows us to source the best produce in both the north and the south of the country.
Read Next: Manchester’s 30under30 2018
What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Make sure you are doing everything you can to gain as much knowledge about food as possible and don’t restrain your knowledge based on the restaurant you are working in.
What are your goals of 2019?
To continue to maintain an environment where the people who work at Mana are able to thrive and enjoy our work pushing boundaries and sharing what we are passionate about with our guests.
Where do you see yourself in twenty years’ time?
Still cooking! I’d like to have a facility which is fully self-sustainable continuing to build on the values we have now and to create the best restaurant for our staff in the world.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career so far?
Working away from my girlfriend, friends and family in a high pressure environment; it could be incredibly difficult at times to not have a support group and being on my own. It was necessary to become extremely independent quickly.
One word that sums you up best?
Read More: Manchester 30UNDER30 2019