‘My childhood consisted of fish fingers, chips and peas to be honest.’ It’s not the usual line you hear from a Michelin-starred chef about their earliest culinary memories (which usually involve home-grown vegetables, the smell of their mother’s cooking or a revelation in a restaurant), but it certainly didn’t stop Nathan Eades running one of the Midlands’ best restaurants. Since September 2015 he’s been head chef at Simpsons, working with executive chef Luke Tipping to keep the food there fresh, current and exciting.
It wasn’t until Nathan was actually cooking professionally that he realised his passion. ‘When I finished my first year at sixth form I decided I didn’t want to go to university and planned to join the RAF instead,’ he explains. ‘I failed my medical due to bad eyesight, so after a couple of months in limbo I got a job as a kitchen porter in quite a cliché, classical restaurant and one day got thrown on the starter section. That was when I got a taste for proper cooking.
‘The first ‘real’ place I worked at was what’s now called Nailcote Hall, in Coventry,’ continues Nathan. ‘It holds massive significance because it’s where I met my wife Charlie, so it’ll always be close to my heart. From there I went to Lainston House in Winchester which had three AA rosettes at the time and was run by Andy Mackenzie, a guy who played a huge part in my career. He took me under his wing; when I was trying to be Jack the Lad and thought I knew everything he showed me how much I didn’t know. I met some amazing people there who have gone on to do incredible things in the Hampshire food scene.’