WALES champion chef Simon Crockford has come a long way in the 10 years he has been at Celtic Manor Resort.

Originally from Pembrokeshire, Simon has progressed from restaurant junior sous chef to become the five-star resort’s head chef.

Recently crowned National Chef of Wales for 2017, Simon, 35, is now encouraging other ambitious chefs to follow his culinary lead at Celtic Manor Resort.

Simon said: “The resort has everything. It is a big establishment with varied sectors throughout the various restaurants and kitchens. A big pull for me initially in taking a role here was job fulfilment – every day is different. Celtic Manor is always growing and I am able to grow my career with it.”

Simon started at Celtic Manor as a junior sous chef in the Olive Tree restaurant just off the main lobby of the resort hotel.

“It is the biggest kitchen at the resort. Within two years I got promoted to sous chef and then three years after that I was delighted to take over as head chef at The Olive Tree. I was in charge there for the 2010 Ryder Cup and also the Nato Summit.”

Simon was promoted to resort head chef two years ago and now oversees all the kitchens.

But what’s it really like to work as a chef at Celtic Manor Resort?

“The training is fantastic. There is also a great in-house training scheme; you get to go on courses to develop your needs. At Celtic Manor you need to be a great manager as well as a chef with good people skills. The resort helps a lot with that.

“There is just so much scope for different and diverse cooking. I work with 10 different head chefs. There are more than 100 chefs at the resort and we learn new things every day. Each one has a certain style and technique, I just feel so lucky to be able to work with so many great chefs.

“We have a tremendous range, type and style of restaurants at Celtic Manor. They vary in theme, from Asian, to the new concept Steak on Six, exceptional fine dining at Epicure by Richard Davies, where we have great hopes of achieving a Michelin star. This week we will open another new restaurant, The Rib, which is a smokehouse and grill in Coldra Court, (opens tomorrow). There is diverse cooking throughout the resort and what’s so great is that I get to work in all of these kitchens every week.”

What’s a normal day?

“That doesn’t really exist. Every day is unique. If I am not setting up a new kitchen and restaurant, such as The Rib at Coldra Court, there may be an intimate function to handle at a Hunter Lodge or a function for 800 people in the conference centre. A normal day is non-existent as there is always something new and exciting. I go where the business needs me.”

Why should others follow your lead?

“I would encourage others to apply for a position here as there is quite simply no other place which offers such a range and diversity of opportunities.

“If someone isn’t suited for one certain area, they can be moved to another kitchen.

“People’s strengths are highlighted and matched to different areas within the resort.

“That’s the big pull for people to come here, there is so much to learn and so much diversity in the cooking.”

For Simon the past decade has been ten years of career progression with some towering highlights while working at the five start establishment.

“I have grown with the Celtic Manor Resort over the past 10 years. Becoming resort head chef was a real personal achievement. The Ryder Cup was really something special, totally unique, the Nato Summit conference, welcoming US President Barrack Obama was also right up there.

“Opening new restaurants has been great, seeing lots of the young chefs come through and seeing them grow and advance their careers is also extremely rewarding and something which I never tire of.

“To work in a five-star resort such as this you need to be the best because people expect the best, Celtic Manor Resort strives to be that.”


• Celtic Manor Resort employs 104 chef associates across eight restaurants, banqueting kitchens and the staff restaurant.

• Training provided is first class from apprentice to a Level 4 AAA qualification. In-house training courses also include full Resort Induction and HACCP Food Hygiene up to Level 4.

• Celtic Manor Resort currently has vacancies for commis-chefs, chefs de partie and sous-chefs. It is looking for qualified chefs keen to work in an iconic five-star resort.

Applicants should be willing to learn, creative, strive for perfection and have a genuine drive and ambition to produce cuisine of exceptional quality and appearance. Candidates must have previous experience in a quality food service establishment.

• Chef duties and responsibilities include the preparation, cooking and serving of quality food as per kitchen and restaurant requirements; ensuring food hygiene standards are maintained; stock control, ensuring resources are used effectively, minimising waste to protect environment and reduce costs; and developing new food concepts. For more senior positions, leadership qualities are essential to assist in the organisation and management of the kitchen team.

• There are excellent staff benefits including uniform, free meal while on duty and generous discounts throughout the resort including hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, spa treatments and hair salon, leisure and golf membership.

• Interested? Visit for more details and application forms or call 01633 410281.