Chef Patron, Northcote
Nigel Haworth is Chef Patron at Northcote, a luxury, independent 26 bedroomed country house hotel located in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire. Nigel joined in 1984 with a passion for creating traditional British dishes that champion locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and it is this approach which has led Nigel and the restaurant to hold a Michelin Star for over 20 years.
Nigel began his culinary career at Rossendale Catering College in Lancashire before working in restaurants and hotels around the world including The Grosvenor Hotel London. Nigel then returned to his former college as a lecturer to teach young chefs before joining Northcote alongside Managing Director, Craig Bancroft.
Today Nigel’s vision for Northcote is, “to stay as one of the best country house hotels in the UK, with an approach to food and service which is more organic and healthy, and with a close eye of the environment.” With such a passion for providing seasonal, organic food for Northcote’s guests, Nigel, alongside Phillip Dewhurt, Director of flowers, trees and bees, are taking steps to create a biodynamic kitchen garden at Northcote. After the three-year project, Northcote will be one of the few hotels in the world to have achieved such an impressive innovation.
In 2001, Nigel created Obsession, an annual gastronomic event in which chefs from around the world take the reins in Northcote’s Michelin Star kitchen to create a celebration of great food and wine, and a meeting of friends, old and new. This year was the 17th year and saw 23 chefs from as far as Japan, China and Australia, cook their own Obsession menus over 17 consecutive nights.
Nigel’s love of food also led him to open a cookery school at Northcote with courses delivered by Head Tutor Bruno Birkbeck and masterclasses available on selected dates with Nigel, Executive Head Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, and other visiting chefs. Nigel’s class gives participants the chance to develop their culinary skills and techniques to create a Michelin Star meal at home with a focus on his favourite local and seasonal produce.
Most recently Nigel and the Northcote team launched Café Northcote, a vibrant café located in Blackburn’s Cathedral Court with a menu that champions fresh local produce in a location that celebrates Blackburn’s heritage. The café adds to the group’s collection of country pubs, Ribble Valley Inns, which serve award-winning gastro-pub food that can be enjoyed alongside regional cask ales.
Nigel is also a popular TV personality and has appeared on programmes such as Yes Chef, Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef and Great British Menu, which he went on to win in 2009.
Nigel offers support to several charities including Hospitality Action who help those who have worked in the hospitality industry and find themselves in crisis. Outside of work, Nigel says “I enjoy taking my son out golfing and my daughter out to eat. She is a massive foodie. Together they have opened a new pop up restaurant concept in London called Plates (currently at Trinity upstairs), which I am very proud of.”
- Special Award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2017
- Restaurant Industry Winner - The Legend of Industry Awards 2015
- Special Achievement Award: Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft - NRB Top 50 Awards 2015
- Nigel Haworth receives Honorary Fellowship - University of Central Lancashire 2010
- Special Award: Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft - Catey Awards 2009
- BBC 2 Great British Menu 2009 - Finalist Main Course - Lonk Lamb Lancashire Hot Pot, Roast Loin, Pickled Red Cabbage, Organic Tangled Garden Carrots and Leeks
- Outstanding Contribution to Tourism - England’s Northwest Tourism Awards 2009
- North West Outstanding Achievement Award - The Lancashire Life Food and Wine Awards 2008
- The Lifetime Achievement Award - Northern Hospitality Awards 2006
- The Prince Philip Medal - City & Guilds 2004
- Wedgwood Chef & Potter Trophy for Britain & Irelands Top Chef 1999
- North West Chef of the Year 1999 - Cheshire, Lancashire & Lake District Magazines Awards 1999
- Egon Ronay Chef of the Year 1995
“What can you say about this man that hasn’t been said a hundred times before? He’s the Godfather of food, not just in the Ribble Valley but also throughout the North West. He’s resent being called a grand old man. Ok, not so old, but grand in the best sense of the word – guide, mentor, guardian, angel of produce and producers. Nigel is acutely aware of the latest developments in kitchen techniques and technologies, but he’s not a culinary revolutionary, thank heavens. Every Nigel Haworth dish comes to the table in properly evolved, carefully developed , ready to be eaten and enjoyed. When you eat a Haworth dish you realize how clever, how sophisticated and how much thought has gone into the dish. He start with fabulous ingredients, in which this part of the world is extraordinary blessed, many would be here, but for his championing of them. He may go back to classic treatments. He may turn to the latest piece of wizardry, but the effect will always be beautiful, beguiling, masterly, and, above all, fabulously edible.”
The Obsession festival is unique in the UK, with top chefs appearing year after year at Northcote. “The formula is simple, chefs cook what they want, it really is about them expressing themselves for one night on the plate. There is nothing in the food world quite like Obsession, it’s a feast in every sense of the word, a celebration of food and wine.” Nigel comments “I am so proud of what we have created, the Obsession event every January is a special time at Northcote for the visiting chefs; the staff and most importantly, our guests, who make Obsession what it is."