The owner of one of Herefordshire's most unique dining experiences talks about how he went from working in the entertainment business until Covid changed everything, and hints about some exciting plans for the future.
Tell me a little bit about how you came to own or work in your business?
I used to be in the entertainment business, and then Covid hit. I knew I would be out of work for a couple of years, so I started cooking in my backyard.
What achievements, awards or accolades are you proud of?
People dine right before me, so when I hear subtle groans of delight or see eye rolls, that’s job satisfaction right there. Oh and I did get nominated for the Three Counties Chef of the year, which is mind blowing for me, as I didn’t realise I was an actual chef!
Any news announcements, or events that you’d like new and existing customers to be aware of?
Hmmm. Yes, but I can’t say just yet, but I am very, very excited about it!
What makes your business unique?
Everything really. The fire cooking, set menu, outdoor dining, the hospitality and the decor.
Favourite restaurant to visit if you get a night off?
I enjoy a lunch at the Kilpeck or jump on the train and go to The Ivy Asia in Cardiff.
Last thing you watched on TV?
Which person in your life do you most admire and why?
I know it’s cheesy, but my wife Carolina. When I started this crazy venture she backed me all the way and became the greatest hostess I have ever seen. I love watching her effortlessly floating around charming everyone.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave my buddy Phil, who works with me, one of my old leather jackets.
What’s your favourite smell in the whole world?
Béarnaise Sauce Reduction.
What’s your favourite kind of sandwich?
Home cured Maple bacon.
Who would you want to cook your last meal on earth, and why?
Me of course. I know exactly what I want and how to cook it.
What is the most annoying habit that other people have?
Bringing out phones at a concert. Be in the moment folks!
If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
BBQ meat, Pizza and Caesar Salad.
What’s your claim to fame?
Being celebrated for my meat. A couple of times.
Which food & drink business (other than your own) do you wish you had created?
KFC. Can you imagine how much I’d be worth!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Do few things, but do them well.
If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be?
Walking up a tropical beach. Bit of sand between the toes is good for my soul.
What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?
I bought a new pizza oven.
Name a product or service you love so much that you’d happily be that company’s spokesperson.
Alfa Pizza Ovens.
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
What is the perfect combination of pizza toppings?
Red onion, chorizo, sausage and an egg.
What was the worst job you ever held and why?
I once worked in a factory that made plastic bottles. So loud, smelly and boring.
What was the last thing you ate?
Scrambled Eggs with chorizo on toasted focaccia bread.
Favourite cut of steak?
What website do you visit most often?
What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?
That’s a tricky question. Google me.
What do you hope never changes?
Standing at my work bench with a fire at my back looking at happy strangers faces.
Under the Nut Tree is a unique food experience with the motto “Long, Slow & Smokey”. Rather than visiting a traditional restaurant you’ll be welcomed into Simon and Carolina’s family garden, where you‘ll be served fire-cooked food in a relaxed and natural environment.
While Under the Nut Tree specialise in cooking large cuts of prime meat on outdoor BBQs, they have also gained a reputation for delicious vegetable dishes and salads.
In only the second year of opening they won Best Restaurant nomination at the Three Counties Awards, making it the ideal venue for couples, groups of friends and private parties.
As the name suggests, when weather allows diners eat outside under a beautiful Hazelnut Tree, but there are also covered areas and a stunning barn in case the British weather does not permit.
A 3 course set menu comprised of locally sourced produce is served on Friday and Saturday nights and occasional Sunday lunches from March to Christmas.
The cost is £50 per head and BYO drinks. Bookings are advised, and they can cater for private functions and outside catering.
Find out more about Under the Nut Tree in the Food & Drink Directory.