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In this week's issue... The chef with no name How James Cochran lost the rights to his own name, and his triumphant comeback with Islington restaurant 12:51
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Top 100: Nathan Outlaw, Nathan Outlaw Restaurants

19 April 2018 by
Top 100: Nathan Outlaw, Nathan Outlaw Restaurants

Overall ranking: 45 (new entry)

Chef ranking: 11 (new entry)

Snapshot

Over the past decade, Nathan Outlaw has amassed an empire of highly respected, seafood-inspired restaurants in Cornwall, London and Dubai, boasting four Michelin stars and nine AA rosettes between them. A prolific creator of recipes, the technically brilliant chef has also found time to write four celebrated cookery books and support his passion for the education and the training of young chefs through his academy at Cornwall College, which opened in 2012. In 2016, he took his brand to Dubai with the launch of Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara at the Burj Al Arab.

What we think

Outlaw's journey from chef-patron to restaurateur hasn't always been plain sailing, which makes his success as the operator of five high-profile restaurants all the more remarkable. Born in 1978 in Maidstone, Kent, the son of a chef, he spent his early years working in kitchens. By the time he had reached his teens, he was a familiar figure alongside his father.

After graduating from college, Outlaw moved to London and secured a junior role in the kitchens of the InterContinental hotel, run at the time by the late, great Peter Kromberg. Here, and later working for chefs Gary Rhodes and Eric Chavot, Outlaw discovered a passion for seafood and, after his spell in London, headed for Cornwall and knocked on Rick Stein's door in Padstow. It was a risky strategy, but one that paid off. Not only did he secure a job, he also met his future wife, Rachel.

After Outlaw had spent a few years working his way up to the role of chef de partie, Stein advised him to gain fine-dining skills. Aged 21, Outlaw took a sous chef role under John Campbell at the Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, later moving to the Vineyard at Stockcross, Berkshire, as Campbell's head chef.

At the age of 25, and against everyone's advice, Outlaw decided to go it alone and opened his first restaurant, the Black Pig, in the Cornish fishing village of Rock in 2003. Within eight months he was awarded a Michelin star, but the seasonal nature of business in the south-west took its toll and the restaurant closed three years later. However, by the end of 2006, he had taken on the restaurant at the Marina hotel in Fowey, Cornwall, putting his name above the door for the first time.

By now, Outlaw had appeared on the BBC's Great British Menu and was also operating a casual-dining restaurant at the St Enodoc hotel in Rock. When the credit crunch came and the owners sold the Marina, he relocated Restaurant Nathan Outlaw to St Enodoc.

In 2011, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw was awarded two Michelin stars. In the following year, he took his brand to London with Outlaw's at the Capital in Knightsbridge, which won a Michelin star just one year later. Today, his father runs the bread section at the hotel and oversees afternoon teas.

The opening in London was followed by the launch of Outlaw's Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac, Cornwall. The charming, 18-seat restaurant in a wonky Grade II-listed building swiftly gained a Michelin star. In July 2014, Outlaw opened the Mariners bar in Rock in partnership with Sharp's Brewery.

Critically, 2015 saw the relocation of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw to its current home in Port Isaac. Perched on a cliff top, with panoramic views across the Celtic Sea, the site overlooks the village that became famous for being the setting of the award-winning TV comedy-drama Doc Martin. Two years later, the Outlaws acquired the freehold of the property.

In 2016, the same year that Outlaw surprised the industry by taking his brand to Dubai, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw took The Good Food Guide's supreme accolade: a perfect 10, finishing second behind L'Enclume in the guidebook's top 50. The following year he went one better with top spot in The Good Food Guide

Further information

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw takes top spot in Good Food Guide 2018 >>

Cateys 2017: Restaurateur of the Year - Independent, Nathan Outlaw >>

Nathan Outlaw on relocating Restaurant Nathan Outlaw to Port Isaac >>

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