The Man Behind the chef: Nathan Outlaw

The Staff Canteen

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In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live - Skillery supported by the Craft Guild of Chefs at Hotelympia 2016, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage. We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites - next up is Nathan Outlaw. Nathan Outlaw

Nathan Outlaw currently holds four Michelin stars across his empire of seafood restaurants including his self titled two Michelin-starred, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, in Port Isaac, Cornwall. Since 2011 the restaurant has been awarded two Michelin stars and four AA rosettes. Specialising in locally caught Cornish seafood.

At The Staff Canteen we want to see what makes chefs tick. We asked Nathan a few questions about what he gets up to when not in the kitchen:

Would you rather order a starter or a pudding?

"Both! If there’s something on the menu I like the look of I’d have trouble choosing!  I can’t resist a naughty pudding no matter how hard I try… but then a tasty starter  is necessary too.  Nope, I can’t choose!"

What would your last meal be?

"BBQ Mackerel. It has to be straight out of the sea, cooked over coals then served with a simple salad and a chunk of good bread.  I’d follow that with good old English trifle and a dollop of clotted cream."

What was the last thing you ate?

"My daughter Jessie is a good cook, even though she’s only 10! She asked me to show her how to make pasta from scratch then we added a simple tomato sauce which we had for dinner.  She did a brilliant job and loved winding it through the pasta machine. It was the first time she’d made it….lots of it!"

>>> Read more in the Behind The Chef series here

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

"As a child I wanted to be a Disney animator. That wasn’t to be but I found an outlet for my creative and artistic side in cooking. Now though, if I wasn’t a chef I think I’d be something in the music industry, probably on the production side."

If you could choose to dine in any restaurant in the world which would you choose?

"I was lucky enough to eat at Paul Cunningham’s place Henne Kirkeby Kro in Denmark last year. It was the best meal I’ve ever had outside the UK. It’s a good example of a chef really showing his personality through his food. You need to be years in the industry to be able to truly show that.  Paul’s is cuisine created through experience only."

Who is you celebrity crush? "I’m not really sure what you mean by this. I don’t really do ‘celebrity’."

If someone was to write your biography what would it be called?

"Best Fishes, Nathan. It’s what I tend to write when signing books and people seem to like it. Also, it reflects what I hope I’ve been able to bring to the industry."

What do you listen to in the kitchen?

"Everything and anything…and the Thermomix, which is the bane of my life. Someone always turns it on just as I’m making a phonecall!  We have a policy of everyone having half an hour ‘ownership’ of the music so that no-one has to put up with someone else’s rubbish.  I have a very wide taste in music so I might be playing Queens of the Stone Age or The National followed by Foo Fighters then The Jam or The Beatles. All the music played during service is chosen by me too but I do choose that with my customers in mind!"

What are you most proud of?

"Firstly, my children. Then my business. It’s taken a long time to build the business up to what it is now and there have been ups and downs along the way. I’m also proud of the team I have behind me."

If you could own another chef’s restaurant whose would you choose?

"Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s St John in Smithfield. I love that it’s uncomplicated. What you see is what you get. There are no airs and graces, just good, honest cooking. It has great food and although known for it’s ‘nose to tail’ meat, also serves some brilliant fish dishes. I also like that it’s a restaurant that encourages people to talk to each other!"

Who would you trust to run your restaurant?

"My team. They have to do it when I’m not about and I trust them to do it because they all have the same aim, to give our customers the very best dining experience available. It’s taken a long time to build the team to what we have now but it’s been worth it. I have some exceptional chefs, front of house and admin staff. Without them I’d be in trouble!"

Why did you choose to get involved in the Staff Canteen Live?

"The Staff Canteen is an important source of news and information within the hospitality industry so I was very pleased to be asked to participate in The Staff Canteen Live. It's important that people in the industry have an easily accessible way to find things out and meet with others who are of a like mind and this is it. It's also fun!"

Visitors can go to and register now for a free ticket to the show.

>>> Read more from The Staff Canteen Live 2016 at Hotelympia here     

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th January 2016

The Man Behind the chef: Nathan Outlaw