YOU’VE got to admire the chutzpah of Simon Wood, a borne winner (and not just of Masterchef 2015). Still staggering from a £4,000 bill for damage caused by raiders trying to batter their way into his First Street restaurant, WOOD, he stood up strong on a video announcing “the next step on my culinary journey”.
Woodkraft will launch on Regent Street – Cheltenham not London apparently – as an ‘artisan eaterie’. Chadderton-born Simon described is as “a more accessible dining project, everyday dining for everyday people. We are going to use local produce prepared by craftsmen – cheeses, meats, we are going to make all our own sauces in house, mayos, coal oils. So, it’s completely different from Wood but retaining the same ethos of classic flavours served with playful authenticity.”
It's a bold move for an ambitious (and talented) chef, already committed to opening a second WOOD in Chester’s Hotel Indigo next spring. Simon told us: "We think it will have a really nice fit with what we want to do. The races, cafe culture, etcerea. It’s a lovely town with an audience that will enjoy the brand. I have some personal links and I know the town quite well.”
The first WOOD on Jack Rosenthal Street has had a successful, first year culminating in being shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year in the upcoming 2018 Manchester Food and Drink Awards. Which makes the Monday evening incident all the more sickening when two men, captured on CCTV, spent 30 minutes using a bench as a battering ram to try and force entry through the main door. £4,000 woth of damage was caused but they failed to break in and the restaurant to remain open the following day.