An exclusive chat with Shaun Rankin – the mastermind behind the menu at new city members club 12 Hay Hill
Since its recent opening, 12 Hay Hill is becoming known for bringing a new style of business club to London. Just off of Berkeley Square in the heart of London, 12 Hay Hills brings together sleek, modern office spaces, relaxed contemporary break-out spaces, a striking modern art collection all topped off by a full spectrum of dining overseen by Michelin-starred chef, Shaun Rankin.
We sat down with Shaun to learn more about his upbringing, culinary education at Longueville Manor in Jersey as well as his big dreams for dining at 12 Hay Hill and what he gets up to when he’s not in the kitchen…
I inherited my initial love of cooking from my Mother. On rainy Sundays when I couldn’t go out to play, I’d help my mum cook the roast in the kitchen. At the age of 16, I left school and started my culinary career with an apprenticeship at The Mayfair Hotel in London, which got me to where I am today. It’s great to be back in London again working in such a luxurious venue in the heart of Mayfair.
What inspired you to join the launch of 12 Hay Hill?
Since my apprenticeship I have always had a soft spot for London. I’m inspired by the pace of life here and the culinary innovation. 12 Hay Hill is such a unique concept where business members can combine work with luxury and it sits very well alongside the SR brand. The various facets of the club have given me the freedom to work on a diverse culinary offering, creating everything from casual grazing menus in the deli-lounge bar, to luxury dining in the brasserie. But more importantly, 12 Hay Hill is also an exciting way to introduce Jersey’s world-class produce to the London scene – I believe we have launched something truly unique.
What’s your favourite dish on your menu at the moment?
We have something to suit everyone and every mood so it’s difficult to pick one favourite. However, I’d probably go for the fresh lobster and hand dived scallops from Jersey’s spectacular shoreline.
Who else do you admire in the industry? What other places are on your own ‘must-try’ list?
I would say Raymond Blanc; any chef would be envious of the extensive kitchen gardens at Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Any visit there is a great British culinary experience and it is an obvious labour of love for Raymond and a great success for him.
Last year I also spent some time in San Sebastian and it’s truly amazing from bars serving authentic tapas to great Michelin stared restaurants. San Sebastian has so much choice and the people just have a different level of passion for how they live, dine and socialise. There are so many places there I still need to try!
Much of your career has been spent in Jersey, at Longueville Manor and after at your own Michelin-starred restaurant Ormer. What is it about the island that has captivated you for so long and what dishes or ingredients from Jersey are you looking forward to putting to use at 12 Hay Hill?
Jersey has a special hold on many people and I’m no exception. Since moving to Jersey in 1994, I have learnt so much about locality, seasonality and the art of foraging. The countryside and shorelines of Jersey and the other Channel Islands offer world-class ingredients and the freshest produce. It’s a chef’s paradise, with local fish being caught, cooked and served within a matter of hours. At 12 Hay Hill, you can see dishes featuring Jersey Royals handpicked by the Island’s smallholders, Jersey crab and hand-dived scallops from Jersey’s spectacular shoreline and foraged herbs from the coastal cliffs.
What is it about 12 Hay Hill that makes it different from other member clubs in the area?
It’s a unique environment that integrates a private members club with business offices. You can work, conduct meetings, network with like-minded people, and dine all under one roof. I think people’s perception of working life is changing and 12 Hay Hill is offering people a place where they can both work and socialise.
What do you like to do and where do you like to go in your spare time?
After a busy day at work, which often means early mornings and late nights, I really enjoy simple things. A chilled glass of white wine accompanied with freshly dug Jersey Royals will do the trick. I’d love to have more time to get out on a boat to dive and fish. A trip to Les Écréhous, a cluster of small islands near Jersey, is a great place to enjoy the fresh air with family and friends.
If you weren’t doing this, what job would you be doing instead?
If I weren’t a chef, I’d probably be a fisherman. I really enjoy fishing when I get the time, but it probably goes hand in hand with being a chef. You can’t beat a fresh catch of the day after a great day out at sea. Nothing makes you appreciate the authenticity of your produce more.
What’s your favourite champagne and food pairing?
My personal favourites, the NV Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut which goes perfectly with the great seafood we get here in Jersey. At 12 Hay Hill in London, we have a suckling pig dish with carmelised apple and truffle salad which is a fantastic match with the 2004 Vintage Laurent Perrier.
For more information on dining or membership at 12 Hay Hill, visit www.12hayhill.com