Chef Simon Braz has been cooking for nearly 18 years - including ten on the Jurassic Coast.

He has worked at the Marriott Hotel in Bournemouth, then for FJB Hotels at the Harbour Heights and is currently Senior Sous Chef at the Haven Hotel.

During lockdown he has turned his hand to teaching cookery on line with remarkable success and is now our Trader of the Week.

Over the last few years, Simon has spent time learning new techniques during some of his holidays working in Michelin star restaurants around the country.

Lockdown brought challenges to everyone but especially to the hospitality industry and to keep his skills sharp and to encourage others, Simon started a cookalong on Instagram.

From this a Youtube channel was born and during the third lockdown an internet cooking school over Zoom. Starting in March 2021, Simon’s monthly lessons have gone down a storm. New ones are created each month to celebrate seasonal ingredients, April’s showcases asparagus and rhubarb.

Simon also feels it is important to promote local small businesses so he uses local vegetable suppliers, fishmongers and butchers.

Simon’s love of cooking was nurtured by his family who are all Portuguese. He says his Avó (grandmother) was the best cook he knew and his favourite dishes were Caldo Verde (green cabbage soup) and Rojões (confit pork belly).

After studying at Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne for three year and working in restaurants and private schools there Simon moved to Dorset in 2010.

He said: “Like most chefs I would take the opportunity to do stagiaire (unpaid kitchen work) on my holidays at Michelin Star restaurants. I have had the privilege to work at Gravetye Manor in East Ginstead which has 1 Michelin Star. Also in Tom Kerridge’s 2 Michelin Star Pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, and the 2 Michelin Star Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon under Micheal Wignall.

“Not only would I work in Michelin kitchens, I would dine in them as well and have eaten in many restaurants such as: The Fat Duck in Bray, Kagurazaka Ishikawa in Japan, restaurant Olo in Helsinki, The Square in London, The Ritz in London, The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds, The Crown of Whitebrook in Monmouthshire, John House in Leicestershire and most recently Core by Claire Smyth in London.

“In these places there have been some interesting people attending.My most exciting was seeing Alain Ducasse (renowned 3 Michelin Star French Chef) while I was at The Hand and Flowers. Also at the Haven Hotel we hosted a Chinese Valentines event and I was able to cook with Ken Hom, and Harry Redknapp was always a local at the Haven. “

Japanese cookery has been a big inspiration:

" A big passion of mine is Japanese cuisine and I was so inspired from my trips there. My wife and I would eat in many restaurants and discovered that there was more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi. Ramen is a big favourite of mine, especially Tsukemen Ramen which is where you dip the noodles into a broth and eat them. I love the care and attention to detail Japanese chefs take when making dishes, from small back street restaurants to Michelin Star dining. Japanese cuisine has so much complexity but an incredible balance of flavour which to me is outstanding. I use Japan as an inspiration to do Instagram cook alongs. “

Simon plans to return to The Haven Hotel on May 17 when restrictions are lifted and he will also continue his online classes.

Please take a look at the and Simon’s instagram page for inspirational ideas.

*To nominate your favourite trader for Trader of the Week see this link for details: