Michelin-starred since 1996
Nigel is regarded as one of the greatest British chefs practising in the UK. From his base in Lancashire, he leads the kitchen at Northcote – one of the most respected in the UK, with its true heart in regional artisan production, executed with outstanding gastronomic flair. Well-travelled and with a passion for culinary perfection, Nigel is the ideal source of all things foodie.
A TASTE FOR TRAVEL
Nigel’s heart lies at Northcote – a lifetime’s work where Nigel has showcased his gastronomic brilliance for 29 years set in the rugged beauty of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
However, having travelled the world far and wide for both work and pleasure, his passion for culinary perfection has been gathered from across the globe (although this cannot be claimed for his famous signature dish - Lancashire hotpot). The ideal source of insight for all things foodie, Nigel shares some of the destinations and dishes that have inspired him for you to look out for on your own travels.
Nigel shares three recipes that he has created following trips to Bali, New York and the Maldives… click here to watch Nigel cooking these dishes along with the recipes.
OBSESSION – not just a reference for Nigel’s years of work with food - but the name for Northcote’s food and wine festival which sees top international chefs travelling to Lancashire to show off their skills across January and February each year. Inspired and envisaged by Nigel after taking a trip to California, the USA seems like the natural place to start this culinary journey around the world.
After a chance meeting in the restaurant at Northcote with the chairman of Shire Inns Nigel was told about a festival of food and wine in Carmel California, which all the top chefs in America attended. He was then introduced to Tom Baker and, in due course, spent a week over in California – as a minnow in a very big pond. It was on the flight home from this inspiring trip that Nigel really got thinking about creating something similar… and not long after he ran a four night event at Northcote. Now, 17 years on OBSESSION is running for 17 nights, with chefs from around the world taking part.
What Nigel loves about American food is the extreme diversity. From decadent treats in Las Vegas – where everything is ‘super-sized’, to the super healthy food of LA... think juices and sushi. Then you’ll find hearty steaks abound in Texas – a state that loves its ‘surf and turf ’, whilst in Mid West Mississippi the cuisine is big on flavour; gumbo, dirty rice, crayfish and oyster shucks are the order of the day. Then, of course, there are the BBQ’d ribs of the Deep South. He could go on and on.
Heading east, to the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a foodie haven for those who like their food fresh. Nigel has spent time both holidaying and working in this beautiful part of the world – and loves both types of visit equally as they both revolve around incredible ingredients.
Cooking with fresh ingredients is something Nigel always does – it’s so important to him and the team at Northcote, and it’s a trait that’s with him wherever he travels and whenever he cooks. Here he was spoilt for choice, fantastic fish is at every turn – whether tuna, grouper, kingfish or swordfish – and tastes incredible. With an intriguing heritage, Mauritius’ food influences include Creole, Chinese and Indian, not to mention its strong links to France, standards are high and flavours are big.
Taking it as far away from UK shores as it’s possible to go, the food 'down under' is equally as varied. The fine dining of Sydney and Melbourne is world-class.
With huge pan-Asian influences, fusion dishes are huge here – think fish, seafood ceviche, sushi, laska, chilli and miso flavours – wow. Of course, there’s no getting away from the promise a traditional aussie ‘barbie’ holds... kangaroo steak on the grill under the stars – and it never disappoints.
The lure of Australia was enough to tempt Nigel’s son - also a chef - away from Northcote, but following his experience on the other side of the world, he's returned to work alongside Nigel. There's no place like home... but there are plenty of places worth a visit, at least once (or twice).