Born in Kent, Nathan’s love of Cornwall began as a child following family holidays camping in the sand dunes near Hayle. Despite his parents trying to dissuade him from entering the catering industry as a career, Nathan spent two years travelling two hours each way to Thanet College in Broadstairs in order to gain his qualifications as a chef. During this time, he also worked every Saturday evening in the local pub kitchen.
In 1996, Nathan was delighted to be offered the position of 2nd commis by Peter Kromberg at the Intercontinental, Hyde Park Corner in London and spent the next 18 months gaining invaluable knowledge about cuisines from around the world.
Following this, he had short stints with Gary Rhodes and Eric Chavot, eventually making the decision to move out of London and into Cornwall where he counted himself fortunate to gain a position with Rick Stein and Paul Ripley at the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. Despite being made to prep fish for the entire first year (but realising now that this was invaluable experience!), this is where Nathan’s passion for fish was awakened.
Two years in Cornwall were followed by two years at the Michelin starred Lords of the Manor in Gloucestershire working alongside John Campbell. However, Nathan returned to Cornwall to help Paul Ripley open his restaurant, Ripley’s, in St Merryn. Following this, Nathan had another stint with John Campbell, this time as Head Chef at the 5 star Vineyard at Stockcross. In May 2003, Nathan made the decision to return again to Cornwall where, in partnership, he opened his first restaurant, The Black Pig, in Rock. The following January, at the age of 25, Nathan was awarded his first Michelin star. Unfortunately, the business was to close but Nathan remained in Cornwall, again being awarded a Michelin star and the accolade of Best Restaurant in Cornwall at St. Ervan Manor, near Padstow. However, the owners decided to sell the property and, subsequently, Nathan was offered the dining room at the Marina Hotel in Fowey. It was at this point that Restaurant Nathan Outlaw was born.
For three years, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Fowey retained the accolade of Best Restaurant in Cornwall. It was awarded a rising 2 star by the Michelin Guide and was given the position of 10th Best Restaurant in the UK by the Good Food Guide. In May 2009, Nathan opened the second of his restaurants, Nathan Outlaw Seafood & Grill at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock (now re-named Outlaw’s at St Enodoc Hotel), which brought a casual dining arm to his business. Then in December 2009, Nathan decided to move the fine dining restaurant to Rock, thus enabling him to concentrate his expertise on both restaurants under one roof. Nathan now had 100% control of his own business and was further encouraged when The Good Food Guide predicted that he would become one of the most renowned chefs in the UK over the next decade.
August 2010, brought more recognition when Restaurant Nathan Outlaw was awarded Best Fish Restaurant in the UK and 5th Best Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide. In September, 2010 Restaurant magazine’s UK Top 100 Restaurants Awards named Restaurant Nathan Outlaw as Restaurateurs’ Restaurant of the Year, 2010. Squaremeal.co.uk also named it second in the Top 50 Restaurants Outside London.
The beginning of 2011 brought more accolades as Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, within a year of opening, was awarded 2 Michelin stars. At the time, this achievement made Restaurant Nathan Outlaw the only Michelin 2 Star fish restaurant in the world. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw currently retains its 2 Michelin stars and has recently been named 3rd in the Good Food Guide’s Top 100 Restaurants in the UK.
In October 2012, Nathan opened Outlaw’s at The Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge. Here he took up a consultancy, which saw him take charge of his first restaurant in London. Again, accolades have accrued and he currently holds ‘Best Set Lunch in London’ and more recently, and within a year of opening, a coveted Michelin star.
Nathan’s desire to bring simply cooked fish and seafood to the attention of everyone saw him open his latest venture, Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, in the small fishing village of Port Isaac, Cornwall. The restaurant was opened in August, 2013 and staff had just two weeks to make it ready for customers. In this restaurant, the concept is one of ‘small, sharing plates’ but the quality of the fish and the skilled cooking are still on a par with its sister restaurants. So far, it has been proving very popular.
A staunch supporter of quality education for young chefs and front of house staff, and always keen to encourage young people into the hospitality industry, Nathan has partnered with Cornwall College to create Academy Nathan Outlaw. The 2012/13 academic year, saw the first cohort of the best young Level 3 chefs enriching their studies by having special master classes from Nathan himself and being invited to take part in work experience sessions in his kitchens. He has also been able to call on a network of friends and colleagues within the food and hospitality industry to meet with the students and pass on their knowledge. In the 2013/14 academic year, Academy Nathan Outlaw students will be drawn from both Level 2 & Level 3 student chefs and it is hoped that provision for front of house students will follow.
In addition to his restaurants, Nathan has been busy making appearances on television on BBC’s Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen Live, and Good Food Channel’s Market Kitchen. He has recently completed a television series called ‘Hook It, Cook It’ co-presenting with chef friend, Valentine Warner. The series is due for broadcast by Fox International TV channels early in 2014.
His first book ‘Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood’ was well received and stayed in the Amazon Top 100 Cookery books for many weeks. It recently won the Food & Travel Cookery Book of the Year award. Nathan is currently writing his second book, ‘Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen’ which is due for publication by Quadrille on 8th May 2014.
Being a passionate and proud supporter of everything Cornish, Nathan continues to search out the amazing produce the South West of England has to offer. He is passionate about seafood, constantly seeking to gain knowledge about all aspects of the fish he cooks. He also continuously experiments with new ingredients and new recipes, bringing innovative ideas to modern fish cookery and striving to create the best possible dishes that will do justice to the fantastic fish available to him. Nathan can often be seen demonstrating his skills at various local food festivals too, including the Cornish Food and Drink Festival and Exeter’s South West Food Festival where his easy manner and obvious love of seafood and cooking is a winner with audiences.
My connection with seafood
'Without seafood and fish, I would not have a business! Seafood and fish are so versatile but in the UK they are underused because the majority of the general public is reluctant to try different species or to cook it at home. My mission is to take the fear away from fish cookery and to show people what fantastic ingredients fish and seafood are'
Why sustainability is important to me
'Sustainability is important to me so that we can continue to enjoy a variety of fish and seafood for years to come. If we ignore the warnings, we have only ourselves to blame. I listen carefully to the fishermen who supply my restaurants, they fish from small day boats and are on the frontline. It saddens and angers me that people don’t heed warnings about misuse of the marine environment both nationally and globally’.