When Simon Rimmer started his celebrated veggie restaurant, Greens, in 1990 he fondly imagined that he’d be front of house while a super-chef cooked up the goodies in the kitchen.

Simon Rimmer. Copyright John CareyBut reality struck when he realised he just didn’t have the cash to employ such a person and so, clutching his two trusty cookbooks, he donned the whites and produced the meals himself, creating what The Guardian newspaper described as ‘one of the most exciting restaurants in the UK’.

No wonder, then, we’re so delighted that Simon, who is now a presenter for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, will be hosting the headline event for The Vegetarian Forest Feast theme at The New Forest Food & Drink Festival on Tuesday November 1 at Burley Manor.

Simon has become one of the UK’s most exciting names in vegetarian cookery, not only appearing on TV but also running a second restaurant, Earle, with his wife, Ali, and the footballers Jason McAteer and Jason Koumas. More recently, Simon has also launched two gastropubs in Liverpool, The Elephant and The Viking, along with American style brasserie, the Liberty Tavern. He has also played an important role in adding to the emirate’s growing British restaurant repertoire through the launch of The Scene, at Dubai Marina’s Pier 7.

However, over the next few months he’ll be busy designing a four course menu for the event at Burley Manor, as well as preparing a 30-minute talk on his adventures in cookery.

Burley Manor is the New Forest’s newest restaurant and rooms, having undergone a £1.8m transformation late last year. Their chefs take superb seasonal ingredients from the New Forest and across the British Isles and beyond, then craft them into vibrant, rustic dishes with the bold flavours and delicate tastes of the Mediterranean.

So if you’re one of those people who believe that the words ‘vegetarian’ and ‘banquet’ are incompatible, then let Burley Manor – and Simon Rimmer – prove you wrong…in style!

Photo credit John Carey