Former homeless chef gets Michelin star at Manchester restaurant

Simon Martin Image copyright Mana
Image caption Simon Martin spent several weeks sleeping rough in Copenhagen

A restaurant run by a former homeless chef has gained Manchester’s first Michelin star in more than 40 years.

Mana in Ancoats, which can be booked out months in advance, has only been open for less than a year but got the city’s first star since 1977.

Chef Simon Martin slept rough in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen for a few weeks when he ran out of money.

Mr Martin, 29, said: “It’s absolutely incredible – this is the highlight of my life. It’s quiet overwhelming.”

Mana boasts a 16-course tasting menu such as grilled onions, kelp and fermented rice as well as salt-aged duck hung over burning charcoal and yakitori-style eel with roasted yeast and blueberry.

Image caption Mana is in Ancoats which has seen massive redevelopment over recent years.

Mr Martin said: “We cook food that we want to eat. We’ve had great reviews.

“You sacrifice a lot, you work away from home and very long hours but now I don’t regret a single thing.”

Mr Martin trained at Noma restaurant in Copenhagen which has been acclaimed in the past as the “world’s best restaurant”.

But he ended up sleeping rough for two weeks while waiting for his first pay packet when he got a permanent job.

Mr Martin told the BBC: “There was a point where I was homeless. It is quite difficult to find accommodation in Copenhagen.

“I found a job and needed to start immediately when I hadn’t sorted any accommodation.”

“It wasn’t too bad. It was the end of the summer and there were showers at work.”

The French in The Midland hotel was previously the only Manchester restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star, which it held from 1974 until 1977.



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