Chef Simon Rogan has announced the appointment of Sam Ward as Managing Director of UMBEL Restaurant Group. Formerly the group’s Operations Director, with a total of nine years at the company under his belt, in his new role Sam will oversee every element of Simon’s eight-strong restaurant portfolio, which operates in The Lake District, London and Hong Kong.
The 34-year-old, who grew up in Grange-over-Sands just a mile from Cartmel, the main home of Simon Rogan’s Lake District restaurants, began his career with the group at the age of 22 as Bar Manager. He worked with Simon for a year, before moving to London to work as a sommelier at The Ritz. Two years later Sam returned to The Lakes where he took on the position of Maitre’d at L’Enclume.
In 2015 Sam was appointed Operations Manager of the group and Operations Director three years later and has played an integral part in growing the business. The group currently boasts a total of five Michelin stars.
Most recently, Sam spearheaded the high-profile international opening of Roganic and Aulis in Hong Kong. worked closely with Simon to conceptualise and facilitate the opening of Henrock restaurant, which launched at Linthwaite House Hotel in Lake Windermere in the Autumn. He currently lives just outside of Cartmel with his wife Nina and new-born baby Freddie.
At the start of the new decade and following the opening success of Henrock and recent Michelin star win of Roganic Hong Kong, Sam, Simon and the team are striving to solidify their presence in Lake Windermere and Asia, whilst continuing to seek out new and exciting projects.
Simon Rogan commented: “Sam has been integral to helping us get to where we are today. His energy and passion for the restaurants and our ethos, alongside his knowledge of the hospitality landscape and dedication to ensuring the entire team is the absolute best it can be has been amazing to watch. We’re looking forward to see where he takes the group next.”
Sam added: “Simon and Penny Rogan have supported me since the beginning, and I’m incredibly grateful to them for every opportunity they have given me. Working for a company home-grown in the Lake District, the place where I grew up and where I still have a huge passion for, has been a dream for me. I couldn’t be more proud to have been appointed Managing Director – I pinch myself to think about the talent within the team that I have the privilege to work with in Cartmel, Windermere, London and HK. There is a real buzz in the company at the moment and we have carved some strong business partnerships over the past few years. There’s still so much we want to achieve as a group with exciting plans for the future.”