Wood Norton’s new Head Chef cuts and serves the first local asparagus of the season


The Wood Norton hotel’s new Head Chef, Simon Szymanski, raced out early this morning to personally cut the first asparagus of the season and serve it up for his lunchtime diners.

In a ‘Beaujolais nouveau’ style race to be the first Chef in the county to be cooking with Worcestershire’s very first freshly cut asparagus, Simon went over to Revills Farm Shop, in Defford. He then darted over to the asparagus crop, cut the asparagus, loaded up the car, then headed back to the hotel, and got to work in the kitchen.

Simon commented: “At Wood Norton we’re keen for the hotel restaurant to be recognised as the leading restaurant in Worcestershire and surrounding areas when it comes to using local produce. Asparagus is a specialty in this area, it’s a fantastic ingredient, and I’ve got some exciting new dishes lined up for the next month, so I was keen to race out and get my hands on the very first freshly cut asparagus!”

The ‘Beaujolais nouveau’ races originated in the Beaujolais region of France. Beaujolais nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes and femented for just a few weeks. Hoteliers, restauranteurs, and retailers use to compete against each other and race out to get the very first few bottles.”

Simon added: “You simply can’t beat fresh local produce. Nothing else comes close. Because of this we’ll be having an ‘ingredient of the month’ every month, which will be sourced locally, and used in an array of new and exciting dishes throughout that month. So this month it’s asparagus, and what Revills Farm Shop have produced is just delicious!”

Darren Hedges, the Manager at Revills Farm Shop, added: “We are really pleased Simon and The Wood Norton got in touch, supplying local businesses is good for Revills and other growers in the area. It is refreshing to meet such a passionate chef. To take time out and personally source local asparagus is good for the region, especially as the start to the season is 2- 3 weeks later this year due to the cold weather recently! Of course there is foreign asparagus but as we all know asparagus from The Vale of Evesham and all the other wonderful local ingredients tastes that much better!”

One other local business who caught wind of Simon’s mission to be the first when it comes to racing out and getting the very best locally grown ingredients, were motor specialists, Listers Jaguar Worcester.

Jon Hands, General Sales Manager at the company commented: “We heard that Simon was planning to go out early to be the first to the asparagus. So I phoned him up, and offered him a driver and car, to make sure he got there and back in good time! We thought he deserved something pretty smart, and in-keeping with the high quality hotel and restaurant that is The Wood Norton, so we supplied him with the new Jaguar F-Type for the morning.”

Simon himself joined The Wood Norton earlier this month as Head Chef. Previously Simon was Head Chef and Patron at the well-regarded Nomis Restaurant in Shropshire, where the majority of produce used, was personally sourced by Simon. Prior to this Simon held the position of Head Chef at Purnells, a 1 Michelin Star/3 Rosette fine dining restaurant situated in Birmingham, which was also acclaiming AA Restaurant of the year.