Simon began his career training as a chef when he was 15 years old with his apprenticeship at St. Johns College, Oxford, gaining not only the qualifications to continue catering but also gaining valuable knowledge and experience from such an early age.
He continued his working career within Oxfordshire working at Private Schools such as St. Edwards School and Dragon School and Colleges of Oxford including Lady Margaret Hall, Jesus and Brasenose to name a few, learning and working up the ranks until becoming Catering Manager for contract caterers within the Universities of Oxford.
In 2008 Simon had the opportunity to work with two of the worlds catering greats in Gennaro Contaldo and Jamie Oliver, when Jamie Oliver opened his first ‘Jamies Italian’ in the centre of Oxford.
The time he spent working under these two greats was invaluable to him not only for his career but as a person bestowing a confidence in his own ability as a chef.
In 2010 after leaving Jamies Italian, Simon created Pigging Perfect, offering Pig Roasts to anyone within Oxfordshire and surrounding counties while working for a second time in his career at St Edwards School but this time running the kitchens as Sous Chef.
Simon was then offered the position of Executive Chef at Caterham F1, which he took but after a family tragedy he regretfully had to leave the role.
Due to personal circumstances and the fact that Pigging Perfect had grown Simon decided to concentrate fully on expanding his private catering business and in 2015 Catering by Simon Ltd was created. Offering catering to all manner of events from birthday parties, to summer balls, and weddings to name a few. He has catered for 1500 people at Wadham College Ball (for the last two times it has been held), Cornbury Music Festival, Riverside Music Festival, you will find him at the annual Witney Beer Festival and array of outside events held all over Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.
On top of these, he privately caters monthly for ex-RAF personnel at formal lunches, but his main catering time is spent catering for lovely couples, their families, and guests at weddings throughout the year.
In 2016 Simon was given the business opportunity to open a café/restaurant in Kidlington – The Willow Tree, which has now been open for just over 4 years (January 2020) offering breakfast, hot and cold drinks and snacks, light bites, lunches and even themed events, seven days a week. This is also the base for all his external catering.
In 2018 Good Mood Food began delivering freshly made home cooked meals using locally sourced fresh ingredients to nurseries and schools in Oxfordshire.
In December 2021 due to a number of new business opportunities, the limited business name changed from Catering by Simon Ltd to SJ Hospitality & Leisure Ltd and is run by both Simon and his wife Julie.