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Photographer: Alan Peebles
restaurateur to celebrity chef, Nick Nairn has had a
long and pioneering career in the UK food industry.
A familiar face to many due to his high-profile television
appearances, Nick is equally famous for his staunch
support of top quality Scottish produce, and passionate
advocacy of healthy eating. Based at his stunning Port
of Menteith Cook School, Nick's hectic schedule includes
teaching, filming and writing, but he is also in high
demand as a food consultant, and travels the world giving
cooking demonstrations and speaking on food-related
up in the gorgeous Scottish Trossachs, Nick's love of
the outdoors and native country came early. But it wasn't
until he answered an advert for a navigating officer
with the merchant navy that his eyes were opened to
the wonders of global cuisine.
to Scotland to study at the Glasgow College of Nautical
studies, he found himself experimenting in the kitchen
in an attempt to copy those exotic dishes he experienced
on his world travels, and it wasn't long before a fascination
with food began to develop. It was a fascination that
was soon to grow into a consuming passion and in 1986
he opened his first restaurant, Braeval, near Aberfoyle.
self-taught, Nick was soon causing a stir with his fresh
style of cooking, and just a year after Braeval opened
he won the Scottish Field and Bollinger Newcomer of
the Year Award. Four years later, and Nick's status
as one of Scotland's finest chefs was confirmed as the
restaurant was awarded a coveted Michelin star.
his fame grew, Nick stumbled into the world of television,
where his irreverent style combined with Scotland's
fabulous natural produce to create Wild Harvest in 1996.
Wild Harvest 2 and Island Harvest were soon to follow,
all with accompanying books, and these programmes have
now been enjoyed by millions of viewers around the world,
from Sweden to Zimbabwe.
shows have included Who'll Do The Pudding, Back to Basics,
and Nick Nairn and the Dinner Ladies, for which he won
a Glenfiddich award in 2004. From 2006 until 2007 he
took part in three seasons of the Great British Menu,
winning the Scottish round in season one, and making
it through to the final of the programme. Ultimately,
he was voted in by the public to cook the main course
at the banquet for Her Majesty, The Queen's 80th birthday.
Most recently, Nick joined the long-running rural affairs
programme, Landward, his first show where he wasn't
cooking for the cameras. The series, which was re-launched
in 2007 with Nick at the helm, investigates topical
countryside issues such as climate change and land usage.
But the programme he is probably best known for is Ready
Steady Cook, which he has co-presented since 1996.
his successful television career grew, Nick continued
to work as a chef, opening a new establishment, Nairns
Restaurant with Rooms, in 1997. It was an instant success
and proved pivotal to the burgeoning Glasgow restaurant
desire to spread his knowledge of cooking good, simple
food brought about the opening of the Nick Nairn Cook
School in April 2000. With its idyllic setting on the
Lake of Menteith, the school soon built up a well-deserved
reputation as a foodies' heaven, and in 2004 it was
completely re-developed, re-opening as one of the leading
cook schools in the world.
state-of the art kitchens, the school has facilities
for up to 24 students to enjoy hands-on cooking. Pupils
also benefit from of an unprecedented level of tuition
from Nick and head tutors John Webber and Alan Mathieson,
as well as the chance to experience fantastic ingredients
from some of Scotland's finest producers. The school
is also supplied by the adjacent organic vegetable garden,
managed by Nick's wife Holly, and boasts a stunning
restaurant-style dining room, a wood burning pizza oven,
and even a smoke house, where the chefs produce their
own organic smoked salmon.
the same year he opened his Cook School, Nick also established
Nairns Anywhere, an event catering business boasting
restaurant quality food in any location. In 2001, catering
giants Compass group acquired Nairns Anywhere to provide
the highest level of food and service in the prestige
catering sector. Nick recently became much more involved
with the company, and it is now run as a joint venture.
In 2007, Nairns Anywhere took over the hospitality catering
at Stirling Castle, further increasing its visibility
and influence on the Scottish catering industry.
his food consultancy business, Nick Nairn Enterprise,
Nick is also kept busy with his cooking demonstrations
and public speaking duties. He travels across the country
and around the world educating and entertaining thousands
with his animated and highly enjoyable performances.
is passionate about Scotland's fabulous larder. He uses
every possible opportunity to promote his passions;
his burning ambition being to make his fellow Scots
enthusiastic about the wonderful natural produce that
is married to Holly and has two beautiful children,
Daisy born in 2002 and Callum born in 2004.
Nairn's web site - www.nicknairn.tv
Nairn's Cook School - www.nicknairncookschool.com
03 July 2007