FOURty seconds with Shaun Rankin

09 Nov 2015
4 min read
Shaun Rankin of one Michelin starred restaurant Ormer in Jersey, tells FOUR all about his eco-dining credentials and heading up the kitchens at the exclusive 12 Hay Hill private members club in London’s Mayfair…

What is your earliest memory of being interested in food?

I grew up in North Yorkshire and I inherited my initial love of food and cooking from my Mother. My earliest food memory is helping my mum cook Sunday Roast on rainy days when I couldn’t go out to play. She was a great cook and I still use some of her recipes today with my own children.

Who or what has been the greatest inspiration?

I left home at 16 and knew what I wanted to do but there was not much opportunity to get into the industry where I lived in North Yorkshire so I headed to London. There I was offered a three-year apprentiship and it changed my whole life. It gave me the chance I needed and propelled me into a world of opportunities. I have now had the chance to do this for apprentices in Jersey and give something back. Sometimes just giving someone an opportunity when they’ve been down on their luck can be all the inspiration they need.

How would you describe your culinary style?

Our style revolves around a commitment to locally sourced ingredients – Jersey Royals and Asparagus are from field to fork within an hour at Ormer and freshly caught fish and shellfish are delivered to the restaurant within 15 minutes. I feel privileged to work with some of the finest local delicacies such as hand-dived scallops, locally reared pork and line caught turbot. These local products are treated with respect and served simply to preserve the flavour.

Recently you supported the charity Environmental Justice Foundation in its fight for more sustainable foods and the need to protect our wildlife and habitats. How is your Michelin starred restaurant, Ormer, in Jersey contributing to the fight to protect our environment?

Produce is ethically and sustainably sourced for Ormer, everything is seasonal and the majority of ingredients are sourced locally making Ormer extremely carbon-footprint aware. The restaurant works in partnership with the ‘Think Twice, Buy Local’ campaign. We also have our own forager Kazz Padidar who provides the restaurant with sea herbs and local foraged delicacies.

We source our fish locally from day boats and family businesses that line catch their fayre. Due to the migration of the tides in Jersey there is a varied selection that can be fished sustainably; we experiment with an array of ethically fished varieties such as Pouting, Whiting, Pollock and Jersey Oysters.

Name a few of the local producers you source your ingredients from for Ormer’s dishes? Do you use local suppliers that avoid threatened species or are contributing to a better eco-system?

‘Me and the Farmer’ is run by Jon and Jenny Hackett and they produce Genuine Jersey Pork. Their animals lead a natural, happy and healthy life on Brooklands Farm in Jersey. They also produce amazing handmade pork pies and scotch eggs for my Delicatessen ‘Don Street Deli’.Fungi Delecti is a family business in Jersey run by Jamie Racjan. They supply Ormer with a range of vegetables, herbs and larder ingredients. Everyone who works with Fungi is passionate about growing, picking or sourcing the best quality food in the world.The Fresh Fish Company is run by Louis Jackson and he has been supplying me with local fish 20 years. No one has greater knowledge of the complexities of our tidal movement in the Channel Island and the importance of seasonality and sustainability.

You are also currently manning the helm of 12 Hay Hill private members club, how have you found this experience?

It’s been a huge challenge but we’ve now delivered a totally unique business club to an international business audience in Mayfair. My key focus is to provide members with high quality food in all our dining areas whilst giving them the opportunity to try amazing Jersey produce. After working through all the plans, preparation, recruitment and operations I now have a huge sense of pride over what we’ve achieved.

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at the club?

The business club offers members a luxurious environment in which to work and socialise all under one roof. The culinary offering includes a high-end brasserie, deli-style dining in the basement bar and a light menu for al-fresco dining on the spectacular terrace overlooking Berkeley Square. Every menu is bountiful with Jersey produce when in season, bringing something different to our diner’s experience. The menus are designed to meet the demands of the modern day London business executive with flexible options for all day dining, satisfying every need from casual grazing to luxurious dining. Members can enjoy a range of healthy salads such as ‘Quinoa, Pomegranate & Orange’, more traditional dishes such as ‘35 day aged Cote de Boeuf’ and dishes for seafood lovers such as ‘Dover Sole with Fish Pie Flavours’.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

It’s all about seasonality and freshness of ingredients. In the winter months I enjoy working with vibrant vegetables such as beetroot and flavoursome produce like celeriac and cauliflower. On the more extravagant side, it’s also the time for black truffles and a variety of excellent game such as rabbit and venison. When it comes round to March we’re all heavily anticipating the arrival of the first crop of Jersey Royal potatoes. At Ormer we can have Jersey Royals dug from the cotils and served to diners within the hour. By April I enjoy working with some of my favourites such as wild garlic and Jersey asparagus. By summertime I look forward to the freshness of beautiful watercress and green beans as an accompaniment to the migration of fish such as Pollock, Red Mullet and Dover Sole.

Describe your most memorable culinary moment…

Opening Ormer in 2013 and then being awarded our first Michelin star after only four months. It’s been an amazing journey and a lot of credit goes to my fantastic team who have worked their socks off and delivered the restaurant we always dreamed of.

What’s next for you/What projects do you have lined up?

I will be joining the Flemings Mayfair Hotel team in March 2016. I have been signed to the hotel as part of their £14million refurbishment programme. This new venture will run alongside my current Jersey restaurant Ormer and 12 Hay Hill in London. I have also been filming some pilots for Channel 4 so hopefully I’ll be involved in a lot more TV work in 2016!

Find out more about Shaun here…