Nathan Outlaw on being AA Restaurant Guide 2015 Chefs’ Chef and the menu for this year’s awards

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd October 2015

On Monday night there will be a new AA Restaurant Guide 2016 Chefs' Chef and they have big shoes to fill as they will being taking the title from Nathan Outlaw.

The Staff Canteen tried to find out who Nathan would want to pass the crown on to but he was feeling very diplomatic!

Nathan Outlaw

This time last year Nathan Outlaw had a pretty good week. He picked up the AA Restaurant Guide Chefs’ Chef Award and gained another Michelin star for Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac, his third restaurant to be given a star. But as prestigious and influential as Michelin is, winning Chefs’ Chef which is voted for by peers was an ‘extremely proud’ moment for Nathan.

“To be honest, it didn’t register immediately when my name was called.” He explained. “I looked around the room waiting for someone else to get up and then someone nudged me!

"Although I knew I’d been nominated, I really didn’t expect to get the award. I’m extremely proud of it though because the votes came from my peers. If they think I’m worth it, I must be doing something right! Even so, it still feel a bit surreal.”

Having won the award last year and being a highly regarded chef in the industry, you would think he would have an idea of who he thinks should win it this year.

“I’m going to be diplomatic and not name any one person!” He said. “The choice this year is very difficult so I’m just going to say how I’d choose one. For me it would be someone who sticks to their guns and does what they think is right. Someone who is known to search out the best possible ingredients and use them with respect. And someone who is a good example to young chefs coming into the industry.”

>>> Read: Man of the moment - Nathan Outlaw

Perched safely on the fence, Nathan is giving nothing away but he is more than happy to talk about the menu for this year’s awards, which as Chefs' Chef he is tasked with creating. His choice of dishes were mainly influenced by the need to recreate them 1100 times consistently.

He said: “My main concern was choosing dishes that I think are capable of being perfectly executed for 1100 people all sitting down at the same time! It’s a bit different to the 20 I usually cook for in one evening at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac!”

He added: “I’ve chosen dishes I think reflect the best fish available to me now and also offer variety so that there is, hopefully, something for everyone. They are all dishes that have featured on menus at my restaurants.”

Guests will enjoy smoked fish cakes which Nathan says ‘are very more-ish and are a winner whenever they feature on the menu in any of my restaurants’. Following that will be the seaweed cured salmon. The cucumber chutney is a clean, fresh addition to the dish and the use of seaweed in the cure rounds off the real taste of the sea. Nathan explained the next course, saying: “Roast turbot, well it had to be, didn’t it? King of British Nathan Outlawfish for a very special occasion and, although I don’t have signature dishes, I suppose my Porthilly sauce would be the thing that I would name if asked. It’s a lengthy process to get it right but well worth the effort. It’s something that customers always ask for.”

He added: “I’ve added a light dessert that is lemony and has unusual elements. It will cut through the richness of the rest of the meal. Then to round off, Cornish fudge, what else? Naughty but very nice!”

The dust of Michelin has now settled and all eyes are now on the AA Restaurant Guide Hospitality Awards but does last year’s Chefs’ Chef think it’s as influential in the industry as the mighty Michelin?

>>> Read: Seven restaurants awarded four rosettes in the 2015 AA Restaurant Guide

“I think it is, yes, but they both have their place,” Nathan explained. “Customers and those in the industry take note of what is written in both guides. That’s why there’s such a buzz about the AA Awards!”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd October 2015

Nathan Outlaw on being AA Restaurant Guide 2015 Chefs’ Chef and the menu for this year’s awards