John Gibson: Simon’s no simpleton

Simon Lannon. Picture: Greg Macvean
Simon Lannon. Picture: Greg Macvean
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YOU’D imagine slaving over a stove would have taken its toll. But no. Simon Lannon doesn’t look his age. A deceptive 37. Still, he had a problem when we met for a natter at his workplace, the Balmoral.

Did he don either his whites or a green and white-sleeved jersey?

“What’s particularly rewarding about cheffing here is that I get Saturdays off,” he said. “I try never to miss match at Easter Road and I’ve got a ticket again for the coming season.” The Balmoral’s decorum has been preserved. His cheffin whites had won.

Simon is tasked with the catering for the brasserie, the bedrooms and the bar, Jeff Bland, who’s been in with the bricks at No1 Princes Street, remains kitchens supremo.

A local man, product of the Honest Toun, Simon’s no simpleton. He stuck in at Musselburgh Grammar, result an impressive CV. He is four years into his second stint at the Balmoral, having served five years there from 2001, followed by two years at the Dorchester.

“It can be a gruelling life but worth the sweat, one of the bonuses two weeks working at Rocco Forte’s (Balmoral owner) hotel in Abu Dhabi.’’

Married, he met his wife when both worked at the Ravelston House Hotel, Musselburgh. She’s still in the trade but draws the line at her husband’s football fanaticism. “I dragged her to a couple of games and that was enough.”

Could the affable Simon apply his expertise to the Easter Road pies? He preferred to keep his comment on the back burner.

Don’t tyre, Tom

Tom Farmer celebrated in France his 73rd birthday last week. Sir Tom never sent me a card, so, much to his chagrin, he didn’t get one from me.

That said, many happy re-treads, Tom. Just do be sure to take time to smell the roses.