Manchester gets some Lakeland magic

Former L’Enclume executive chef Tom Barnes is launching his first restaurant next year, in Manchester – with the blessing of Simon Rogan, his former boss at the Lake District gastronomic powerhouse.

Skof will open next spring in the Hanover building, a terracotta-tiled former drapery warehouse built in 1904 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society in what is now called the NOMA zone of the city centre.

Tom will continue working closely with the team of growers at Our Farm, Simon’s regenerative farm in the Cartmel Valley, who will supply the 36-cover Skof with seasonal produce.

He says: “I am so grateful for Simon’s support, and I plan on utilising all the skills that he has taught me over the many years that we have worked together. I’m so happy with what we have achieved and look forward to this new chapter.

I am so excited to be opening my first restaurant in Manchester. It feels like the right place for me. The food scene is changing so frequently, and everyone I’ve met has been incredibly welcoming. Growing up in Barrow-in-Furness, I knew I wouldn’t want to be too far from my childhood home and my family, so it’s the perfect place.

The opening of Skof marks a new departure for Simon’s Umbel Restaurants group, as it takes up the role of supporting talented individuals opening their own independent businesses.

Simon says, “It’s so special to be able to help a chef who has worked with me for so long go on to realise his dreams. I’m so proud of Tom and everything he has accomplished.

“We’ve been working towards this moment for a while now, and I can’t wait for him to be able to show the world what he can do. He is a seriously talented chef, so I know Skof is going to be amazing!”

The last L’Enclume alumnus to launch on his own account in south Lancashire was Mark Birchall at Moor Hall in Aughton, north of Liverpool – which opened in 2017 to widespread acclaim and has established itself alongside L’Enclume as one of the UK’s elite dining destinations.

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