Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Lisa Allen

Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Lisa Goodwin-Allen's cooking is playful and twists the hallmarks of Lancastrian cuisine to invoke new tradition.

Many commentators have tended to fix upon the fact that Lisa Goodwin-Allen is one of only a handful female chefs to reach the top of her industry (Frances Atkins, Clare Smyth, Mary Ann Gilchrist and Angela Hartnett are other notable examples) with Lisa herself admitting that, ‘[for women] it is quite a challenge’. The fact that Lisa has prospered suggests that she possesses a great deal of spirit to go with an abundance of raw talent.

As a teenager, Lisa worked part time at Holbeck Ghyll in Cumbria whilst she finished catering college, before spending a year at Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham with David Everitt-Matthias. She credits David as a big influence in her early career, but it wasn't until Lisa returned home to Lancashire that she found the restaurant that would define the rest of her career. Lisa arrived at Northcote as a determined and ambitious twenty year old demi chef de partie, and quickly rose up the ranks. By the tender age of twenty-three, Lisa was given the keys to the castle and made head chef of Northcote.

Her mentor at the culinary institution of Northcote is ambassador Nigel Haworth, who saw the potential in her cuisine soon after she joined Northcote. The Lancashire-born pair enjoy a symbiotic relationship based on a shared interest in local produce and a love of the region’s cuisine. ‘We have a very honest relationship,' she says. 'Nigel trusts me, I trust him, we often ramble on about what we could do, how we could make something better.'

Lisa's cooking is playful and, like her mentor, she twists the hallmarks of Lancashire cuisine to invoke new tradition. A great example of this can be seen from her appearances on Great British Menu, where in one memorable episode she reimagined Kendal mint cake (a confectionery item hailing from Kendal, Lancashire) as a delightful dessert, serving it with strawberries and meringue. With dishes like her wild rabbit and leek turnover with piccalilli, and her chargrilled hanger steak with loaded potato skins, Lisa shows that she is not afraid to take rustic local dishes and recreate them in a new and exciting way.

In late 2017, Nigel stepped into an ambassadorial role at Northcote, leaving Lisa to take over the kitchen, as well as day-to-day running of the business. Whilst the food offering at Northcote has had Lisa's stamp on it for some time, the extra responsibility for Northcote is a welcome new challenge for Lisa, and one she is relishing. 'I was doing a lot of the food development of the menus anyway,' she says, 'but now I'm involved in more of the business and day-to-day, as well as driving forward the food, the kitchen and all the people behind it, and the direction of the business.' Under Lisa's stewardship, Northcote looks sure to remain one of Britain's finest restaurants for years to come.