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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor