Simon Ayres shot to fame in 2010 as the talented Head Chef at The Milestone gastro pub at Kelham Island, Sheffield which was picked from more than 12,000 restaurants for the Channel 4 smash “Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant” and going on to win in the Best British Restaurant category.

“With that kind of determination, that’s where the future of British cooking is: up there in Sheffield,” declared Ramsay.

The “cage fighter” as Gordon Ramsey then described him, has worked in a number of high profile establishments since; including the Showroom (Sheffield’s only independently owned cinema) which he put firmly back on the map with his home-made ice-creams and roof top garden and more recently at the Cross Scythes Pub / restaurant in Totley which he has put his own individual stamp on with quality, creative dishes inspired by local produce. 

About Us


Simon has a natural talent for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to catering for events, and has managed and catered for a variety of functions in and around Sheffield (and internationally) for many years. Events like dinner parties and canapé functions for corporate nights, right up to larger events such as the annual "Sheffs Kitchen" competition for the charity Whirlow Farm, and weddings for up to 200 people. 

Simon has over 20 years’ experience in the trade and had a very successful career; winning a number of awards and competitions as well as writing recipes for high profile local books such as the Sheffield Cook Book and Hendersons Relish. His close network of contacts and local suppliers, such as Whirlow Farm (who have worked with him for many years) and chefs; most of which have been directly trained by Simon himself has given him the inspiration to create his own company Samphire and Steel Catering. 


Samphire and Steel is born

Realising that in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, there are very limited companies offering quality outsourced catering services for corporate and office events and requests for him to cater for weddings and chef at home services, Simon decided to set up a business to provide just that – restaurant quality, unique and well-presented food sourced from local suppliers in your home, office or wedding. The name was derived quite simply with Samphire being one of Simon’s favourite ingredients to cook with and steel being the home of stainless steel in Sheffield where Simon grew up.

Professional, imaginative, talented and experienced are all words used by his customers (and actually he’s is just a really nice guy!). Whatever event you’re are looking for catering for; Private Dining in your home, wedding or catering for a specific corporate event, Simon will design it to your specific and bespoke requirements and budget, ensuring every detail is covered and managed right down to the very last mouthful.

Samphire and Steel can cater for all your requirements in the South Yorkshire area; Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and further afield if required, just call us on 07834 834040  or email

About Us


I have known Simon for 4 years through my workplace and know him to be a reliable and hardworking chef. We have called on Simon’s skills for a variety of events such as our corporate Christmas parties and our annual clay shoot.

I approached Simon with an idea for a new fundraising event in 2014; a cooking competition with a twist to raise much needed funds for Whirlow Hall Farm Trust where I head up the Fundraising and Events department. Simon as always was enthusiastic and helped me by giving advice and signing up to donate his time to be one of the two chefs required for the event. The result was fantastic and we now have a very popular cooking competition with 240 diners attending the final each year.

The thing I love about working with Simon is he listens to your requirements and tailors his menus accordingly.

Sarah K, Rotherham

The canapes were to die for! Everyone commented on the food at the wedding and I’m sure I won’t be the only one wanting to use Simon again. Heartily recommended.

Mr & Mrs R, Fulwood

I have used Simon and his team on a number of occasions for dinner parties for up to 20 of my friends and family, as well as a breakfast for 15 of my friends after a house party. I know that I’m in capable hands with Simon – his friendly but professional composure makes it so easy to work with him. He organises everything from an innovative and exciting menu to the incredibly presented dishes on the day which create a wow factor using quality food sourced from local producers. Restaurant quality in the comfort of my own home is a major plus for me. I’m free to enjoy myself with my friends and family instead of being in the kitchen!  He arrived at my house with all the ingredients and equipment to prepare the meal and he even clears the table and cleans the kitchen – whats not to like?

Rachel L, Sheffield

We hired Simon to provide catering for our Wedding at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire and Simon organised a full Hog Roast, which was very fitting for the Medieval surroundings. He also facilitated the Bar, with a cask of Real Ale, along with specially concocted Reception drinks. The unique catering helped to cap off a very special day for us and it wouldn't have been possible without Simon and I can highly recommend his restaurant menus generally and his outdoor catering in particular as ideal for any event.

Peter Wright, Solicitor & Managing Director, DigitalLawUk Ltd

Whether a mass catering event on a fundraising budget or a fine dining experience for a small party, Simon will apply the same level of creativity and inject passion into everything he does. I booked him as a private chef for a family birthday and I couldn’t have been happier. I would recommend Simon to anyone looking for top quality food with a refreshingly friendly approach.

Sarah K, Rotherham

Simon has been such a help to Whirlow farm over the last few years where he has managed a number of events for us including our annual clay pigeon shoot, catering for up to 200 people and offering his services for our charity auction night; helping us to raise thousands of pounds for the charity by donating his time cooking at dinner parties for the winners. His food is always top notch and quality never suffers with high numbers which can often be the case when catering for large events.

Sam Trepte, Operations Manager, Whirlow Hall Farm

Simon catered for our wedding and from start to spectacular finish he was brilliant throughout. Importantly for us the communication between us was crucial- Simon listened to our needs, made suggestions and delivered magnificently, presenting the food to a show-stopping standard. Simon came to us by recommendation and we would have absolutely no hesitation recommending him again having both been made incredibly happy by him and his work. 

Mr and Mrs Coles

Local produce sourced from local suppliers

2019 © Samphire & Steel
All photos of the food on this website have been created by Simon and his team and are not stock images.