Heathcote furthered his interest in gastronomy whilst undertaking domestic science classes at school before studying Catering at Bolton Technical College. For a teenage boy growing up in 1970’s Lancashire, Heathcote’s choice of vocation was not exactly de rigeur, as the chef himself explains, ‘Cooking was a sissy thing to do, but because I was in the football team, the swimming team and the cricket team, they left me alone.’
Paul Heathcote’s career has subsequently spanned stints in Switzerland, Sharrow Bay Hotel, Ullswater, The Connaught in Mayfair, London and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.
At the age of 29 he opened his first restaurant, The Longridge Restaurant in Longridge, Preston. Within two years he had been awarded his first Michelin and Egon Ronay stars along with receiving The Good Food Guide’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ accolade.
Further success and honours followed, with Heathcote eventually attaining a prized second Michelin star and receiving a Catey award, for Independent Restaurateur of the Year.
Heathcote placed emphasis on seasonality and provenance of ingredient before these were industry standard, trailblazing a new direction for British cuisine without allowing it to forget its roots.
Now, Heathcote resides in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, casting his expert eye over a portfolio of three restaurants - The Longridge Restaurant (with esteemed chef Hywel Griffith in place as chef restauranteur), his original Olive Press Preston and the more recently opened Heathcotes Brasserie. Clearly, Heathcote is a shrewd businessman as well as a fine cook.
Paul Heathcote has two cookbooks to his name – Rhubarb & Black pudding and Heathcotes at Home – and in 2009 was awarded an MBE for his contribution to the Hospitality Industry.