Born in Bury, Lancashire, Simon Hopkinson left school at 17 to begin a career as a chef. He opened his first restaurant, the Shed, near Fishguard, just before his 21st birthday. In 1983 he launched himself on the London restaurant scene, becoming chef at Hilaire in the Old Brompton Road. He swiftly found himself one of the most acclaimed young chefs in the business and his friendship with Terence Conran led to the opening of Bibendum in the restored Michelin building in 1987. He retired as a full-time chef in 1995 to concentrate more on writing. As well as Roast Chicken and Other Stories his books include Gammon & Spinach (1998) and The Prawn Cocktail Years (1999) and he also writes a column in the Independent. His critically acclaimed cookery writing has won him the André Simon award, and the Glenfiddich Award three times.