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Chef interview: Simon Stanley

We speak to Simon Stanley, co-owner and Head Chef at both The Red Lion and Damson.

Simon Stanley is head chef and co-owner of both The Red Lion in High Lane, Stockport and the highly acclaimed Damson restaurant in Heaton Moor. He and his business partner, Steve Pilling, are also planning to open 'Mr Pilling's Roast Restaurant & Oyster bar' in the Courthouse on Deansgate, in 2013.

Simon has worked in the kitchens of culinary legends such as Marco Pierre White and Richard Neat. He then headed Raymond Blanc's kitchen at 'le Petit Blanc', Manchester, for 4 years before moving to Sam's Chophouse, where he met Steven, who owned it at the time. They formed a firm business partnership and now their restaurant menus epitomise traditional British dishes using top quality regional produce.

Whilst Damson is more of a fine dining restaurant serving 'affordable luxury', Simon describes the food he serves at The Red Lion as 'simple, well cooked, and reasonably priced'. Sunday lunches are a speciality where they serve an average of 300 customers throughout the day. He is becoming famous for his huge billowing Yorkshire puddings (made using local free range eggs) and is pretty confident that 'no-one can make them like me.'

They use local suppliers for both restaurants, such as fruit and vegetable wholesaler R Noone & Son and WH Frost butchers. Both are family businesses based in Greater Manchester that find the best seasonal produce our region has to offer. The most locally sourced dish on the 'Red Lion' menu has to be the delicious sounding 'Salad of Bury black pudding croquettes, smoked bacon & beetroot, soft poached egg' with almost all the ingredients coming from within 50 miles, and all in the North West.

Damson - 113-115 Heaton Moor Road, Heaton Moor, Stockport, SK4 4HY
Tel 0161 432 4666

The Red Lion - 112 Buxton Road, High Lane, Stockport ,SK6 8ED
Tel 01663 765227

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