Published On: Wed, Apr 26th, 2017

MasterChef Wood beefs-up his team ahead of restaurant debut

simon wood and mike jenningsTHE North West’s only MasterChef winner Simon Wood has strengthened his team with key appointments for his first restaurant opening in Manchester this summer.

He has announced that head chef at WOOD on leisure and hospitality area First Street will be Mike Jennings, chef-patron of the former Grenache Restaurant in Walkden.

Jennings left Manchester in 2002 to work with his mentor Shaun Rankin at Bohemia Restaurant in Jersey.

james cunninghamAfter seven years he returned to the North West to work under Nigel Haworth at Northcote before taking over Grenache in 2012, achieving a Michelin recommendation in the first year, two AA Rosettes on his first inspection and a nomination for the Good Food Guide’s Best Restaurant amongst many other awards.

“Simon’s vision and enthusiasm excites me, he’s not afraid to cook from the heart, something I share completely,” he said I can’t wait to work alongside him creating amazing food that this incredible city deserves.”

Also joining the team as general manager is James Cunningham who brings experience at well-known brands Whitbread, Ramada and Harvey Nichols.

“It is a fantastic honour to be asked to be involved with WOOD Manchester,” he said. “Simon’s cuisine and vision are incredibly exciting and will bring something new to the Manchester restaurant scene.”

Wood added:“What I thought could have been the two hardest decisions to make in recruiting our team were actually the most natural and fell into place right away.”

The restaurant on Jack Rosenthal Street will open Tuesday to Saturday serving a lounge menu, a la carte lunch and dinner and a tasting menu will also feature, offering seasonal produce and newly developed dishes.

It will be dominated by the open theatre kitchen, which includes a Josper oven, and will feature a chef’s table in addition to a 16-seater private dining room upstairs, which could also accommodate 30 standing for a drinks reception.

The interior space, is being designed by Allison Pike architects, and takes its inspiration from nature, with natural wood and wood inspired features throughout.

PICTURES: Simon Wood (left) with Mike Jennings and (below) James Cunningham

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