Darren Simpson studied and began his career in Northern Ireland where he was born. Within two years of landing his first job, Darren was named UK’s Young Chef of the Year. At 21, he was and still is, the youngest ever winner of this prestigious annual award open to all UK chefs under the age of 25.
From 1992 to 1999, Darren trained and worked with some of the greatest. He has worked in restaurants such as: Paul Rankin’s Michelin-starred Roscoff, Ireland; Albert Roux’s Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, London; Sally Clarke’s Clarke’s, London; Simon Hopkinson’s Bibendum, London; as joint Head Chef of the acclaimed River Café, London; and Head Chef at Sir Terence Conran’s Sartoria in Savile Row, London.
In 1999, Darren was head-hunted to become the Head Chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant at Sydney’s East Circular Quay. Having received fantastic reviews, Darren’s food has been described as “dynamic” and “big-flavoured”. Darren then opened the award-winning La Sala (The Room), a modern Italian restaurant in 2005.
Darren can soon be seen on the brand new series of, The Best in Australia. The second 8x60mins series, based on the hit BBC series, The Best, will screen on The LifeStyle Channel from the end of August.
His TV appearances also include resident chef on Sunrise; presiding as judge on hit reality show, My Restaurant Rules; presenter on lifestyle program, Live This; and Ready Steady Cook. Off the screen, Darren has attended invitations as MC and/or speaker of key food and wine events across Australia.
Darren has written for various national and overseas publications: Food Feature writer, ‘Esquire Magazine’ - UK; contributing food writer, ‘FHM’ – Australia; contributing food writer, ‘Selector Magazine’ – Australia; Food Editor, ‘Live This Magazine’ - Australia; and contributor, Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Living’ - Australia.
Darren clearly knows how to cook courses of fine Italian dishes; all garnished with his cheeky infectious Irish charm. As he says, it’s all about “keeping it simple.”