Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman, Chef Owners, Orwells Restaurant near Henley-on-Thames
Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman are the chefs and co-owners of Orwells Restaurantwhich opened in 2010 in an 18th century former pub in Shiplake, near Henley. Since launching the restaurant has won The Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year 2017, consistently been included in The Good Food Guide Top 50 UK Restaurants (currently no. 29), awarded 4 AA Rosettes ranking it amongst the best restaurants in the country and, most recently, won Thames Valley Hospitality Awards Restaurant of the Year.
The pair are also no stranger to television – they are regulars of BBC Saturday Kitchen and they became the first married couple and chef duo to both appear on BBC2’s Great British Menu, competing for their respective home regions. Ryan and Liam appeared on the show in June this year, a third time for Ryan and second for Liam.
Ryan’s experience includes apprenticeships with the Troisgros family, Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire during time spent in France before returning to the UK to work his way up the ranks. His colourful CV includes Sketch, The Langham, Winteringham Fields and The Elephant. Ryan’s first head chef role was at The Goose where he won a Michelin star within just 18 months and was awarded The Good Food Guide ‘Up and Coming Chef of the Year’. Here he met Liam who joined the team having begun his career at the famous 60 Hope Street and worked at Bovey Castle.
Ryan and Liam’s ethos is to serve nothing but the highest quality food with a major focus on sustainability. Ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible, all meat is locally reared, higher welfare and entirely seasonal, plus they serve absolutely nothing that isn’t completely sustainable – eel has been off the menu for years. The chefs have their own smallholding where up to 75% of their fruit and vegetables are grown and Liam is a passionate and successful beekeeper, producing the honey used in the restaurant and selling it to support Friends of the Earth’s ‘Bee Cause’. Ryan and Liam send nothing to landfill – all their refuse is recycled and they choose their suppliers carefully based on their sustainability merits. This approach and dedication has earned them a three-star gold sustainability rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, ‘demonstrating an exceptional standard of sustainability’.