AFTER being a waiter for seven years, Simon McFallon, 51, decided that he wanted to a change of career – but didn’t want to leave the catering business.

When he moved to Somerset - to Selworthy, near Minehead to be exact - he told his new manager he wanted to work in the kitchen, and that’s where he’s been for the past 18 years.

Simon said: “I’ve always loved cooking.

“When I was 14/15 I was cooking, and my mother and father used to moan at me for making the house smell of food.”

After cheffing in Selworthy for a while, Simon met a Spanish girl and decided to more to Madrid – where he stayed for five years.

“Working in Madrid was very different to here – it is a very social scene and because I catered for weddings the food was quite upmarket” he added.

“I did love catering in Madrid and will hopefully get back into catering at some point.”

After Madrid, Simon moved back to Minehead, worked at The Royal Oak, The Bottom Ship Inn and The Hobby Horse, before relocating to The Bicknoller Inn, Bicknoller, Taunton just three months ago.

This is The West Country:

“We serve traditional pub food and it is all home cooked” he said.

“We have a local butcher, and a local veg man.

“It is so important to have local produce to keep local businesses alive.

“I like spice and I enjoy making curries. My favourite ingredient is definitely chilli.

“We have a few curries on the specials menu and Thursday night we have a curry night. I do three different curries, I like to change them up.

“I find English food quite bland sometimes and I prefer more exotic foods.

“I do a lot of Spanish food so the tapas, the paella and that I can do.

“I love cooking Indian, Mexican and Thai food. I am hoping to bring in this influence when I do the new menu next year.”

Lesley Davis, owner of The Bicknoller Inn, has been there for five months and Simon has joined for three of those.

They are both keen to introduce music nights on a Friday, as well as hosting more themed evenings, such as Mexican, Spanish, Thai and so on.

At the moment, the menu consists of traditional pub dishes, such as Scampi, chips, peas and homemade tartar sauce as well as steak and ale pie. There are also recipes they have created, such as Bicknoller chicken (butterfly chicken, BBQ sauce, bacon and cheddar cheese).

Simon added: “When I came in we had the menu that Lesley decided on.

“Then probably in Easter next year we will make a big change to the menu – ready for the summer.

“We were discussing having music on a Friday night.

“Once we get Christmas and new year out the way then we will start looking at other changes.”

This is The West Country:

Sunday carvery is popular at The Bicknoller Inn, with a choice of three meats, seasonal veg and new or roast potatoes.

“On a Sunday we were only getting 40 people and now we’re up to 80 and we’re getting booked out every week” Simon explained.

The Bicknoller Inn are also open for Christmas, with traditional dishes on the menu such as prawn cocktail, carvery and Christmas pudding. To find out more visit thebicknollerinn.co.uk or call 01984 656234.