Great British Menu winner and Michelin starred chef Adam Simmonds is a role model for anyone diagnosed with dyslexia.
The former Vandyke pupil – tipped by the Good Food Guide as a name to watch over the next decade – has made a huge success of his life, in spite of struggling academically.
And he credits his parents’ unwavering encouragement and support for where he is today.
Sadly, his much loved father died during the regional heats of the competition that caught the nation’s imagination and wasn’t there to witness his son’s achievement.
Adam, 42, admitted: “It was very, very tough for me. But I carried on because I knew it’s what he would have wanted.”
No doubt his proud dad would have been vastly impressed by the dish Adam presented to veterans at a commemorative 70th anniversary banquet in St Paul’s Cathedral. The innovative chicken consome in a flask which diners had to pour over dehydrated celeriac, chicken and beurre noisette was a far cry from his first triumph – a pineapple upside down cake.
Recalling his school days Adam said: “I didn’t like sitting behind a desk and I liked the idea of being creative. I found it easy to do things with my hands and I remember the sense of achievement I felt making food and experimenting with recipes in home economics.”
He left school at 16 and cut his culinary teeth at the Globe Inn, washing pots and making sandwiches.
He spent three years with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and said: “It’s one of the best places to work. I learned a huge amount.”
He added: “It takes years of hard work and long hours to get anywhere in this business.
“You have to be really resilient. You’ve got to have drive and determination and be prepared to put up with people shouting at you. But it’s also really rewarding.
“If you find something you enjoy, then persevere with it.”