MEET the top chef looking to put Southampton on the foodie map with his new fine dining restaurant.
Southampton-born and bred Daniel Rogan is the Chef-Patron at AO Restaurant in London Road.
It’s been a long-held dream for Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay trained Dan, the son of chef Simon Rogan, once named Britain’s top chef.
Dan was inspired by childhood visits to L’Enclume, his father’s three-Michelin-star flagship restaurant in the Lake District.
He told the Daily Echo: “Ever since I was about 14, this is what I’ve wanted to do.
“We’d go and stay with my Dad in the half-term holidays and I’d stand at the back door of the kitchen at L’Enclume each service.
“It sparked a passion in me, an ambition, that’s how it all started.”
Dan worked at L’Enclume, Marcus at The Berkeley and for Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea as well as at several New Forest restaurants like The High Street Kitchen in Lymington and TerraVina in Woodlands before launching his own private dining business.
When he was offered the chance to open his own restaurant, a conversion of part of Whiskey Blue, Dan jumped at the chance, naming it after his two children and getting them involved in designing the logo.
AO Restaurant opened its doors in December and offers an ever-evolving eight-course tasting menu using locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, plus a superb wine pairing menu.
Each dish on the £80 menu, sourced from local family businesses like JS Fresh Fish at Shamrock Quay and Hogget & Boar butchers at Broughton, includes four or five components and goes through three or four stages of preparation.
Members of the team of 11 have been recruited from venues including Lime Wood, The Chesil Rectory and Figurati.
Plans are already afoot to expand the 32-cover restaurant, which Dan has ambitious plans for.
He added: “I’m passionate about Southampton and I love my city.
“I want to take us to the top and make us a destination restaurant with rooms.
“My dad has been a big inspiration to me, but I’m doing this myself.
“I don’t like to talk about stars or awards, but of course, we would love some accolades!”
For more information, visit www.restaurantao.co.uk
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