Adam Reid on life at The French
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Talented Manchester chef Adam Reid is bringing a humble approach and food packed with Northern personality to the kitchens of his restaurant at The Midland Hotel
There is nothing pretentious about Adam Reid. As he sits in the self-titled Adam Reid at The French – the stunning restaurant he took control of following Simon Rogan’s departure in 2016 – the talented chef’s face lights up when he talks about letting the people and producers he works with shine. Ego chef he most certainly is not.
‘I want the restaurant to be a place where people are proud of working with us,’ he says. ‘We have fantastic producers – people like Goosnargh’s Johnson and Swarbrick and Pollen Bakery in Ancoats who make malted sour bread to our recipe and we serve it with beef butter – and those connections are really important.
‘It’s the same with our chefs. I don’t want them to be in the kitchen all the time, they go and serve the guests, too. It gives them something to be proud of and confidence in the dishes they are creating. I don’t want people who dine with us not to know who’s made their food.’
It’s a formula that has won him big praise not only from the swathes of loyal diners who visit but also from the likes of the Good Food Guide and the people who award AA Rosettes – The French has four. The restaurant may not yet have been awarded a star by Michelin – a fact causing much scratching of heads from guests and Adam’s chef peers. But what he and his kitchen team are turning out has bags of star quality.
The chef’s unfussy approach filters through his menus. You’ll find his famous Tater Ash – a finessed version of a dish he loved as a child – and his Comfort Food Sounds Good chicken dish, which earned him a win in last year’s Great British Menu. His dishes are all about going back to his roots.
‘We are unashamedly a Manchester restaurant – what we do here is from me and for the area we’re based in. We were doing incredible food with Simon, but I think after he left, we were a little forgotten about. It gave us chance to develop but now there is that deep connection to our local area. Both myself and my team want to cook for the people who are going to eat here, no-one else. It’s what we do best.
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‘For me, the whole experience has been phenomenal, running this place. It’s incredible to know we are doing what I set out to do, what I feel comfortable doing. It’s just perfecting it and that requires 110 per cent.
‘But it has to be unpretentious. We could do this food in a very nice pub, and I love that. It’s about simple food and doing it really well.’
Adam one day hopes to have his own restaurant, away from a hotel setting. But for now, he is working to drive Manchester’s dining scene forward.
‘My cooking is all about being modern but with an all-important North West accent. What I focus on is how we make people comfortable. The food needs to be special but not a place where you don’t feel comfortable.
‘I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and want to keep pushing forward and creating a memorable experience for people who come here.’