The North West’s only Masterchef winner, Simon Wood, has recruited two top professionals to join his team at WOOD – Manchester.
Head chef at the First Street restaurant will be former head chef/proprietor at Grenache Restaurant – Mike Jennings.
Mike honed his skills when he left Manchester in 2002 to learn about food, produce and Michelin kitchens with his mentor Shaun Rankin at Bohemia Restaurant in Jersey.
After seven years he brought his knowledge and passion home and began working under Nigel Haworth at Northcote before taking over Grenache in 2012. Located in the suburbs of Salford, Mike was able to carve out his own style, 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.
Mike comments; “Simon’s vision and enthusiasm excites me, he’s not afraid to cook from the heart, something I share completely. I can’t wait to work alongside him creating amazing food that this incredible city deserves.”
James Cunningham will also join the team as General Manager.
Beginning his career in a small, family run business James has gone on to work for some of the most successful names in the business including Whitbread, Ramada and Harvey Nichols.
Since 2009 he has worked with Michael Caines and Andrew Brownsword Hotels, most notably at the ABode Hotels in Manchester and Chester as well as the Michelin starred Bath Priory, the historic Imperial Torquay and the stunning Slaughters Manor House.
James comments; “It is a fantastic honour to be asked to be involved with WOOD Manchester. Simon’s cuisine and vision are incredibly exciting and will bring something new to the Manchester restaurant scene. I can’t wait to open this amazing new venture to the Manchester public!”
On the appointments Simon Wood comments; “Within an hour of meeting Mike I knew that we would make a great team in the kitchen. We have the same passions and beliefs about what food should be and how it should look.
“Much in the same way James completely sold himself to me in the very short time that I first met him. I think he will give exactly the same impression of himself and WOOD Manchester when he greets my customers as they walk through the door every time they visit. 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.”
When it launches this summer WOOD will open Tuesday to Saturday serving a sophisticated lounge menu, and a full service a’la carte lunch and dinner menu, including special pre-theatre and pre-concert offerings. A tasting menu will also feature, offering seasonal produce and newly developed dishes..
The restaurant 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.
The restaurant will be located on Jack Rosenthal Street at First Street.