My Life In Travel: Simon Rimmer, chef

'New York wins hands down for restaurants'

First holiday memory?

Rhosneigr on the south-west coast of Anglesey. I remember driving with my parents in the back of a heavily loaded Morris Minor. We stayed on a farm, so my early memories are of fresh eggs for breakfast.

Best holiday?

A road trip from San Francisco to San Diego in California with my wife and our two kids. We rented apartments all the way down, instead of staying in hotels. I like the ramshackle nature of the northern limits. I fell in love with the hippy culture of Santa Cruz – it's not quite as perfect as Southern California. Then we headed down to Santa Barbara and Del Mar, and saw humpback whales and elephant seals along the way.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

A small village called Kirkby Lonsdale in the Lake District. I live in Manchester, so it's about an hour's drive before you're in a different world. It feels like it's frozen in 1955: there's a butchers, traditional cheese shops and nice pubs.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Hong Kong was an incredible learning curve in terms of cooking. For the Chinese, it's all about celebrating difference and using every part of the animal. You eat chicken gizzards and duck feet, which teaches you a new approach to food.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. We've travelled with our kids since they were very young and have hopefully brought them up to have a good attitude towards travel. They love the whole experience of getting in the taxi to the airport; deciding what books to buy; and what films they're going to watch on the plane.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My perfect holiday would be to start in a city so I can ease out of the work frame of mind, and then be somewhere on a beach where I can relax.

Biggest travel luxury?

Flying above cattle class and staying in nice hotels. I'm a hotel junkie, so every year when we go to New York, we make sure we stay somewhere good, like the Soho Grand.

Holiday reading?

I consume trashy crime novels at a high-speed rate. I like Michael Connelly, Mark Billingham and Peter James in particular. They have all the action and escapism you need.

Where has seduced you?

Ibiza was a massive surprise. We went on a family holiday and it was everything you don't expect it to be. I'm naturally inquisitive, so there are very few places I wouldn't want to return to, especially because work takes me to unusual places. I went to Norway filming recently, and travelled on a Hurtigruten cruise into the Arctic Circle. I'd definitely go back if I could.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. In Valencia, when you're travelling from the airport into town, you bizarrely drive past paddy fields – which you don't expect to see in Western Europe. You see all these guys in their little boats harvesting rice.

Worst travel experience?

Going to Koh Samui on our honeymoon. We stayed with a friend in Bangkok the night before and drank our body weight in alcohol. It was about 90F and we sat in a taxi for two hours with no air conditioning and the sun beating down on the backs of our heads. My wife lay under the chairs in the airport to make herself feel better.

Worst hotel?

A place in Newport, Shropshire. There was someone else's hair on the towels and dirt throughout the avocado bathroom suite.

Best hotel?

I was lucky enough to stay in the Four Seasons George V hotel, just off the Champs-Elysées in Paris for work, which was one of the most opulent places I've ever slept in – the rooms made you feel like royalty.

Favourite walk?

Along the Calle de Quart in Valencia. It's this long street with bar after bar of restaurants. You've got an incredible charcutería next to a paella stall, next to a bar called Johnny Maracas, which has the oldest staff in town. One of the best restaurants is a place where all they serve is lamb. You eat lamb chorizo and chops that you cook for yourself at the table.

Best meal abroad?

Tabla in New York. It's closed now, but they used to do modern Indian cuisine with really high-quality produce and beautiful combinations of flavours. Also, the Spotted Pig in the West Village is incredible: I remember to this day a plate of vegetables I had there. And then Rosa Mexicano, where they do great homemade guacamole. New York wins hands down.

Dream trip?

Japan. There's a big gap in my cultural and food education waiting to be filled. I'm intrigued by the exciting mix of modern culture coupled with a strong sense of history and tradition.

Where next?

I'm off to the Lake District again for New Year with the family. We've recently acquired some dogs, so we're staying in a pet-friendly cottage for a week in Kirby Lonsdale. We'll drink at the Sun Inn pub and eat at The Royal, a beautiful Georgian hotel that's just reopened.

Simon Rimmer will host a food festival at Hawksbill by Rex Resorts in Antigua (2–9 April, 2012; rexresorts.com)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic