Simon Rimmer interview

The interview: Simon Rimmer

The interview: Simon Rimmer

The top chef on how to take your barbecuing up a level

If you save the barbecue just for burgers, you’re missing a huge part of what a barbecue can actually do. Celebrity chef Simon Rimmer uses his for not just grilling but as an oven, too.

He says: “The barbecue can be the best oven you’ll ever have. Don’t just use it to grill on as a direct heat source but shut the lid to create an oven and use it to slowly cook delicious whole cuts of meat such as legs of lamb and shoulders of pork. One of my favourite dishes is lamb leg roasted with garlic, rosemary and chilli with the juices dripping down onto a tray of potatoes and veggies.”

So what are some of his other tips for outdoor cooking, and the most common things we get wrong when it comes to barbecuing? “Don’t race at it. Wait until the coals are white hot and the flames have died down.”

Simon has recently interviewed a host of top chefs, including Angela Hartnett, Ken Hom and Jason Atherton, for his podcast series about their love of cooking and what they like to barbecue.

“The idea for the podcast came from an impromptu conversation with Tom Kerridge talking about the pivotal moments in your life. We all have those sort of moments when you realise what you are going to be, and that’s the premise of the podcast, and then we chat about what we love to barbecue. So we have the likes of Ken Hom, one my favourite human beings in the world, telling us about being a hippie in California, and how he learned to cook.”

“It’s a joy to do but interestingly, one of the biggest surprises is this common theme that keeps recurring, and that is the importance of everybody’s family and the big influence they have had on them as chefs. No matter how successful we are, everyone still wants the same thing and that is praise from their parents.”

Simon, who is behind many of the north west’s top restaurants, enjoys dining out himself and says we are spoiled for choice across the UK. His favourite places? “I love that question because Britain is so fantastic these days. We have so many really brilliant restaurants.” He lists Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers in Marlow, The Kitchin in Edinburgh, and in London, The Riding House Cafe.

“But equally, around the corner from me there’s a little coffee shop in Altrincham that’s called California, which does the best bacon sandwiches ever and excellent coffee.”

‘Grilling with Simon Rimmer’ in association with Weber BBQs is available now on