Nigel Haworth is chef patron at Northcote and Ribble Valley Inns and was one of the first to bring honest, seasonal British cuisine to the table. As guardian of the hotel’s restaurant and its Michelin star, retained for 29 years, Nigel not only showcases his own gastronomic brilliance at Northcote, but sets the benchmark for fine dining across the UK.
Following intensive training at Rossendale Catering College in Lancashire, Nigel embarked on a journey that would take him from Schweizerhof Hotel in Switzerland to Gleneagles in Scotland before landing a highly-covetable job at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. After two years cutting his teeth at the hotel’s prestigious restaurant, Nigel returned to Lancashire to lecture at the same college he studied at – teaching young chefs and preparing them for the real heat of the kitchen.
Then, in 1984, Nigel was offered the role of head chef at Northcote: it was here he’d find his home, building an enduring career and working relationship with business partner Craig Bancroft, earning a Michelin star in 1986, gaining recognition as Egon Ronay Chef Of The Year, amongst a slew of other awards, and finally launching Obsession – the restaurant’s annual guest-cheffing series, celebrating its 15th anniversary next year. With honest food continuing to be at the heart of Northcote, the restaurant is also a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the Slow Food Alliance.
There’s more to Nigel than Northcote, however: together with Craig, Nigel also launched and developed Ribble Valley Inns – a premium group of pubs delivering on award-winning gastro-pub fare, regional cask ales and charming surroundings. The menus at Ribble Valley Inns – a total of five, with more opening in June and August – champion Nigel’s local food heroes, whilst the fabulous wine list at each pub has been carefully curated by Craig.
Most recently, Nigel has opened the Northcote Cookery School in the restaurant’s kitchen: this is where pupils will discover how ingredients are selected, prepared and transformed into the plates works of art that are famously served up at Northcote. Since winning Great British Menu in 2009 with his now-legendary Lancashire Hot Pot, Nigel continues to make regular appearances on television – returning to Great British Menu in 2012 to mentor a new generation of young chefs and frequently showcasing new dishes to James Martin on Saturday Kitchen.
Nigel is also an active support of a number of charities with regular fundraisers at the restaurant, including Hospitality Action, which helps those who have worked in the hospitality industry and find themselves in crisis.
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