The chefs of Obsession 2016

The chefs of Obsession 2016

by Great British Chefs 22 January 2016

As the world's best and brightest chefs descend on Nigel Haworth's Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote for sixteen nights of culinary excellence, we take a look at what they'll be bringing to the table.

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Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

From 22 January until 7 February, sixteen chefs from eight different countries will be taking over the illustrious kitchens at Northcote in Lancashire to cook bespoke, one-off menus for true food lovers eager to eat the very best dishes the world has to offer. Some of the UK’s best and brightest will be showing off their culinary skills alongside chefs from Asia, South America, Europe and Africa, representing food from all four corners of the globe. We took a closer look at the chefs and the style of cuisine they’ll be showcasing at this year’s Obsession.

The chefs

Jean-Luc Rocha, France

Holding two Michelin stars at his celebrated Chateau Cordeillan-Bages in Bordeaux, Jean-Luc uses the very best produce found throughout the south west of France. His contemporary approach to traditional haute cuisine breathes new life into French classics, while his impeccable training means every dish coming out of his kitchen is finished with finesse. Being based in the heart of the Médoc’s wine country means he takes wine matching very seriously, and with a cellar of over 1500 bottles to browse through, diners are spoilt for choice.

Mark Jordan, Jersey

Jersey is fast becoming a destination known for its incredible food, drink and scenery, and Mark has been one of the driving forces in spreading awareness of this incredible island. Heading up the Michelin-starred Ocean at The Atlantic, he takes the amazing seafood, vegetables, beef and dairy found on his doorstep and turns them into dishes worth travelling for. Expect incredible, produce-led cuisine presented in a simple yet stunning way.

Jean-Luc Rocha
Jean-Luc's cooking is some of the best in France
Mark Jordan
Mark is incredibly passionate about Jersey's produce

Tom Sellers, London

Tom was just twenty-six when he opened Restaurant Story; five months later he was the proud owner of a Michelin star. He’s now one of the most exciting chefs in the UK, creating inventive tasting menus that make use of home-brewed vinegars, fermented vegetables and hard to find herbs. His cuisine is clearly influenced by his time at Noma in Copenhagen and Per Se in New York – two of the best restaurants in the world – but his dedication to provenance, the history of British food and playful presentation turns his dishes into something completely new.

Annie Feolde, Italy

As the first female chef outside of France to gain three Michelin stars (which she has held since 1993), Annie is a legend amongst her peers. Her Florence-based restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri is hallowed ground as far as gourmands are concerned – the highest levels of elegance and luxury and some of the most exquisite food on the planet means a dinner here is a lifetime experience that will be remembered for years to come. She’ll be bringing this same level of cooking to Northcote for some very lucky diners.

Tom Sellers
Tom's time at Noma has had a profound influence on his cooking style
Obsession 2016: Annie Féolde
Annie was the third female chef in the world to gain three Michelin stars

Aktar Islam, Birmingham

Self-taught chef Aktar is a born and bred Brummie and one of the most exciting things to happen to modern Indian cuisine in the UK. His restaurant Lasan – which he opened when he was twenty-two – takes traditional preconceptions of Indian dishes and turns them on their head. Aktar’s questioning, experimental approach to food means he doesn’t stick to the rules followed by other chefs, and his personal interest in how ingredients are grown and reared means he won’t settle for anything other than the very best.

Angelo Sabatelli and Marco Stabile, Italy

With Angelo representing Puglia and Marco bringing the flavours of Tuscany to Lancashire, this pair of Michelin-starred chefs are working together to create a night of incredible Italian cuisine. Angelo’s cooking makes the most of the incredible seafood found on Italy’s south coast, served in homage to traditional Puglian style but with modern, playful flair that brings it into the 21st century. Marco, on the other hand, is a pioneer of the new Tuscan food movement, taking the best ingredients from the region and turning them into incredible dishes that make diners view the local cuisine in a whole new way.

Aktar Islam
Aktar is paving the way for a new wave of Indian cooking
Angelo Sabatelli
Angelo has teamed up with Marco Stabile to bring a taste of Italy to Lancashire

Lanshu Chen, Taiwan

After reaching the upper echelons of classical French cookery during her training in Paris, Lanshu returned to her native Taiwan to open Le Moût, a restaurant which combines local, seasonal dishes with European techniques and cooking methods. The restaurant itself looks like it’s been moved brick-by-brick from a Parisian square, but the food served is truly unique and presented with an incredible attention to detail.

André Garrett, Berkshire

Being trusted with the keys to the kitchen at Cliveden House is one of the best affirmations of talent a chef could want, and André has been at the helm for several years. The food is exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant situated in one of the UK’s most famous manor houses; indulgent, luxurious and opulent, but by no means stuffy – André takes classical dishes and adds his own personal twists to create food that’s new and inventive.

Obsession 2016: Lanshu Chen
Lanshu's unique cuisine combines French techniques with Asian flavours
André Garrett
André is head chef at one of England's most famous manor houses

Hideaki Matsuo, Japan

Hideaki has held three Michelin stars for six years now, and a meal at his Osaka-based restaurant Kashiwaya is like no other. As a master of ryotei – a type of Japanese cuisine traditionally reserved for the upper elite of society – his menus commemorate the memory of his first tea ceremony and change monthly, tightly following the seasons. His vibrantly coloured dishes come bursting with flavour and manage to combine textures in incredibly sophisticated ways.

Peter Tempelhoff, South Africa

Peter is one of the most innovative chefs in South Africa and is head chef at The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort, voted the best place to eat in the country. Having earned his stripes in the US and the UK, he eventually returned to Cape Town to take South Africa’s cuisine to a whole new level. Visually striking dishes of traditional stews, native beef and locally caught seafood, combined with the cooking techniques he learnt in his youth, make Peter’s cuisine some of the best in Africa.

Hideaki Matsuo
Hideaki is a master of ryotei cuisine
Peter Tempelhoff
Peter is head chef at the best restaurant in South Africa

Arnaud Bignon, London

Two-Michelin-starred Arnaud runs The Greenhouse in Mayfair, combining his time spent learning how to cook in France with his passion for Asian flavours and the very best of British produce. He is a big fan of playing around with traditional flavour combinations, pairing lamb with seaweed, lobster with peanuts and langoustines with sake. His presentation is immaculate, and with his sights set firmly on a third star, Arnaud’s menus achieve the very best in modern cooking.

Robert Ortiz, London

Peruvian food is certainly having its moment in the spotlight, as British diners discover how eclectic, fresh and full of flavour it can be. One of the people responsible for this is Robert Ortiz, the first Peruvian chef to win a Michelin star. His restaurant Lima is at the forefront of modern Amazonian cuisine, where he serves up the national dish ceviche alongside more exotic dishes that make the most of the country’s indigenous ingredients.

Arnaud Bignon
Arnaud has his sights set on a third Michelin star
Robert Ortiz
Robert has been at the forefront of Peru's culinary revolution since day one

Diego Hernandez, Mexico

Combining traditional Mexican food with flavours of Asia and the Mediterranean, Diego is part of a new movement in Mexico wanting to put the country’s cuisine on the world stage. Forget fajitas, tacos and chilli con carne; this is real, regional Mexican cooking the likes of which the UK has never seen. His restaurant, Corazón de Tierra, produces its own olive oil, honey, vegetables and herbs, and there is often a whole lamb or pig slowly roasting over an open fire.

Wojciech Modest-Amaro, Poland

Poland might not be the first place you think of when seeking out Michelin-starred cuisine, but Wojciech is the only chef in the country to hold one. His restaurant Atelier Amaro, which he opened in 2011, is a temple of modern, avant-garde cuisine that makes the most of wild ingredients found throughout the Polish countryside. Wojciech is an avid forager and hunter, using produce rarely seen outside the country, and utilises modern, state-of-the-art cooking techniques to create truly unique plates of food.

Diego Hernandez
Diego is bringing regional, authentic Mexican food to Northcote
Wojciech Modest-Amaro
Wojciech is Poland's only Michelin-starred chef

Lisa Allen and Chantelle Nicholson, Lancashire and London

The penultimate night at Northcote sees the restaurant’s own executive head chef Lisa team up with Chantelle, who runs the kitchen at Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s. Lisa was just twenty-three when she was handed the reins by Nigel Haworth, and her admirable work ethos, respect for produce and unfaultable culinary skill has made her one of the most respected chefs in the industry.

Chantelle was originally a lawyer until she became a finalist in the Gordon Ramsay’s Chef Search competition in 2004, earning her a place in Marcus Wareing’s Savoy Grill. She has been working for the same company ever since, working her way up through the company and winning all sorts of awards.

Nigel Haworth, Lancashire

The man behind the whole of Obsession brings the festival to a close with his unmistakable dishes that celebrate everything great about regional British cooking. Nigel is responsible for putting Lancashire on the gastronomic map, championing local producers, showcasing the area’s traditional dishes and proving that ingredients such as black pudding, hot pot and potted shrimps can be cooked and presented to a Michelin-starred standard. His bespoke menu at Obsession will push the boundaries in terms of quality, technique and flavour, representing a culmination of everything Nigel has achieved in the past twenty years.