Aiden Byrne has been the Head Chef at The Manchester House ever since it started over 3 years ago, in a launch that was brought to the nation’s consciousness in the BBC’s Restaurant Wars, which also featured Simon Rogan at The French, and focussed on the pair of them striving to become the first Michelin Starred restaurant in the City.
Fast forward 3 years, and we’re on the cusp of one (or both) of those restaurants finally getting the star, with many food writers shocked when they were both overlooked for the award last year. With the rankings published in October, Byrne is hoping for better luck this year.
That said, Byrne takes nothing for granted, and is still honoured that he has been named amongst the candidates for the Chef of the Year Award. “It’s always nice to be recognised, ad the more nominations for Awards like this the better.”
Even with a growing media profile, and his involvement in his pub The Church Green, Byrne is still ever-present at every service at Manchester House, and nothing goes out from the pass to the diners without his nod of approval.
Over the few years Byrne has been honing the restaurant’s food menu, and slowly licking it into the shape he wants it to be in. He openly admits that they started with too many dishes, and, perhaps because the launch was so hotly anticipated because of the TV cameras, tried to be a little but too complicated with the food.
Since then it has all been about “upping their game” and trying to focus on the details, and trimming the a la carte menu - with a smaller number of dishes greater care and attention can be given, rather than trying to run with a cumbersome menu trying to cater to all tastes. The improved consistency should help them to land the big awards, but also allows them the chance to be creative and innovative with flavours.
Whether he wins the award or not, the focus for the next year is to keep on honing and refining the dishes in the restaurant’s repertoire, and continuing to fight for a place on the culinary map of Manchester – it’s only once they become a staple at the top of an ambitious Manchester restaurant sector that Byrne knows he will have done his job, and with new challengers coming from London year on year this is not a job that gets any easier!
Will Aiden be voted the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Chef of the Year 2016? Follow us @CityCardMCR to find out when we present the award tonight!
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