|Phil Fanning is Head Chef of Paris House, Bedfordshire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, set in 22 acres of stunning deer park of the Duke of Bedford’s Woburn Estate.
Chef Phil Fanning is the one to watch. Remember this name. You will certainly see more great things from this chef in the years to come. Just ten months after taking on his first Head Chef role, Phil was awarded a Michelin-star. Three months after that came a coveted Acorn Award, which identify the brightest talents in the hospitality industry (previous recipients include Marco Pierre White, Marcus Waring and Michael Caines.) Phil has one more milestone to celebrate in the next year – his 30th birthday.
Phil is the latest success story of Rising Star Apprentices from The 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group, named so because of their ambition to achieve 10 Michelin-stars within an eight year period. The 10 in 8 Group, whose restaurants include Paris House, is not a chain but a breeding ground for raw talent that can be harnessed and focused into running some of the industry’s best and most highly regarded fine dining establishments. Each restaurant in the Group is run by the Chefs and Front of House experts that were developed from within the Group giving all Team Members the chance to develop their own individual skills and ambitions to work at the highest level in what is a notoriously difficult industry to both survive and prosper. Phil is testimony to the success of their apprenticeship programme.
Phil was brought up in Flackwell Heath, near Bourne End and attended school in The Wye Valley before moving on to Henley College, where he successfully completed his training in Culinary Arts. His first job in the kitchen was as a Commis Chef at Danesfield House under Michael McDonald, where he found his “cheffing feet”. Michael saw Phil’s early potential and on acquiring his first restaurant, The Vanilla Pod, offered him a position in his kitchen where Phil spent three years honing some basic culinary skills. After working at a number of establishments in the UK and abroad Phil returned to the UK and decided his passion lay in fine-dining. He therefore joined the 10 in 8 Group in January 2007 and became an apprentice under award winning Chef and Head of 10 in 8, Alan Murchison. On joining 10 in 8 Phil was given a position of Junior Chef de Partie at L’ortolan restaurant, near Reading. In his first 18 months at L’ortolan, he was personally trained one to one by Michelin-starred Chef Alan Murchison. The training covered the very basics of every section of the kitchen and allowed Phil to develop much needed skills and techniques required in a Michelin-starred kitchen. Within two years Phil had risen from a Junior Chef de Partie to a Junior Sous Chef and started to demonstrate his true potential.
In February 2010, the 10 in 8 Group opened their third restaurant, Paris House in Woburn. The opening was celebrated by a number of special guests including Alan Murchison’s mentor and friend, the renowned Raymond Blanc OBE. Having demonstrated his talent and risen through the ranks at l’ortolan, Phil was offered the position of Head Chef at Paris House. This was no easy feat. Paris House has long been one of the UK’s finest destination restaurants and is steeped in culinary history. From the moment the new Paris House opened it attracted attention and rave reviews. The challenge set to Phil was to earn a Michelin-star within 3 years of opening. In January 2011, just over 10 months after welcoming the first guests to Paris House, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin-star, an international hallmark of outstanding quality. The restaurant and Phil himself continue to go from strength to strength in 2011. Just five months after receiving a Michelin-star, Phil was awarded a much coveted Acorn Award. The Acorn Awards identify the rising stars in the hospitality industry, and acknowledge flair and reward good work. Each year, thirty people under 30 are nominated by their peers and colleagues for having made an impression in their field, and have done for the past 25 years.
Today, under Phil’s management Paris House continues to thrive and maintains its reputation of excellence, so much so that the restaurant has partnered with numerous prestigious brands including Audi UK, whose Centre network employees are offered training in achieving the ultimate level of customer service. Despite his success so early on in his career, Phil remains grounded and aware that the hard work must continue. Says Phil “The training with Audi has been useful to us in highlighting how such a respected brand works hard to maintain its reputation. In this way we are very similar. It has reminded us all at Paris House that although we have achieved recognition with a Michelin-star, we must work doubly hard to keep it.”