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The Great British Chefs Cookbook: Britain’s culinary masters

The Great British Chefs Cookbook: Britain’s culinary masters

by Great British Chefs 12 September 2018

Our debut cookbook kicks things off in style, with a pioneering group of master chefs who have blazed a remarkable trail for British food, steering it out of the dark ages and into a golden era. Take a look at the chefs featured in the first chapter of our book and buy your copy today!

After many months of planning, dish testing, food prepping, photographing and writing, we have been very proud to pull the covers off the Great British Chefs Cookbook. The result is exactly what we’d hoped it would be, bringing sixty of the nation’s very best chefs into one book.

Naturally, those sixty chefs have contributed very different things to the UK food scene. Some have shaped our love of world cuisine, taking unknown flavours and ingredients from far-flung lands and making them staples in our everyday cooking. Others have brought the European kitchen into our homes, revelling in the luxury of French cuisine, or the simple beauty of Spanish and Italian food. Others still have revitalised British food, by taking classic dishes and bringing them into the modern culinary landscape.

Today, we’re looking at a group we call ‘Britain’s Culinary Masters’ – ten chefs who laid the foundations for Britain to become a culinary destination, and then pushed on to make British food some of the very best in the world. Without these chefs, Britain would not be the same. All these chefs appear in the first chapter of our cookbook, with two of their recipes featured. Get to know more about their stories.

Pierre Koffmann

The first of our Great British masters is, ironically, a Frenchman, but no one can deny the influence of Pierre Koffmann on British food over the last forty years. His restaurant La Tante Claire – opened in 1977 – soon became famous for flawless French cookery. In 1983, the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars, and Pierre held them until it moved to the Berkeley Hotel in 1998. The likes of Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Tom Aikens, Tom Kitchen, Bruno Loubet, Marcus Wareing and Jason Atherton all cooked under Pierre during his career, and just as they too will have protégés who go on to do great things, Pierre’s influence will live forever in British food.

Mark Dodson

Mark Dodson started his career in the galley of a ferry, cooking amid the swells of the North Sea, but it wasn’t long until he found his way to the Waterside Inn in Bray. He would spend the next eighteen years under the tutelage of the legendary Michel Roux, and during his twelve years as head chef, Mark earned a third Michelin star for the iconic restaurant. Since then, Mark and his wife have opened their own place – The Mason’s Arms – in Devon, where Mark’s Anglo-French cuisine has been awarded yet another Michelin star.

Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill graduated from Exeter University with a classics degree and was in between careers when he decided that a kitchen job would be a good way to pay the bills, eat well and learn how to cook at the same time. The reality was much different, but Shaun took to kitchen life like a natural and quickly rose through the ranks, taking positions at Blakes in South Kensington and The Capital Hotel with Brian Turner. As head chef at Gidleigh Park and then The Merchant House in Ludlow, Shaun held a Michelin star for well over a decade, and was one of the key players in the modern British food movement, helping to legitimise the UK as a food destination. He now heads up the kitchen at The Walnut Tree Inn in Wales, which holds a Michelin star.

Paul Heathcote

Born and raised in Lancashire, Paul Heathcote’s passion for British ingredients has had a huge influence on the landscape of British food today. After stints at Sharrow Bay in the Lake District and Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Paul opened his eponymous restaurant back home in Lancashire, and became famous for championing undervalued British classics. He took ingredients like black pudding and dishes like shepherd’s pie, rice pudding, treacle tart and more, and dragged them into modernity using the very best local ingredients. Before long, he had two Michelin stars and a burgeoning reputation as one of the best chefs in the UK. Although he has since sold most of his restaurants, Paul’s influence continues to be felt, particularly in the North West.

Marcus Wareing

Certainly one of the most recognisable food personalities in the UK, Marcus Wareing is a household name thanks to his TV career, but to call him a TV chef would be woefully inaccurate. Marcus famously burst onto the scene as Gordon Ramsay’s sous chef at Aubergine during Gordon’s ‘Boiling Point’ docu-series, but Marcus has gone on to forge his own stellar reputation, earning two Michelin stars for his superb Anglo-French cookery at Marcus – his eponymous restaurant in the Berkeley Hotel. Whether it’s teaching Sienna Miller and Bradley Cooper how to cook on the set of Burnt, serving custard tart to The Queen or running the pass at Marcus, Marcus Wareing is a true ambassador for British cuisine in every sense of the word.

Nathan Outlaw

For a chef born and raised in landlocked Maidstone in Kent, Nathan Outlaw sure has a remarkable touch when it comes to fish cookery. That all comes, he says, from two formative years with Rick Stein at the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow – where Nathan learned fish and seafood inside out, and fell in love with the north coast of Cornwall. His two-Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant, up the coast in Port Isaac, has an incredible reputation for fish and seafood cooking, but Nathan is far from just a fish cook – he’s a chef of the highest quality, and thanks to multiple restaurants in the UK and one in Dubai, he’s a true ambassador for British cooking.

Simon Rogan

As the owner of the two-starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, Simon Rogan is one of the most talented chefs the UK has ever seen. Add to that a few other restaurants and a proper working farm, and you’ve got a master restaurateur and businessman to boot. Simon’s food is modern British at its very best, with his own produce accented by Cumbrian ingredients and unusual native herbs – nothing else is needed to make his beautiful dishes taste and look world-class.

Michael Wignall

Growing up, Michael Wignall dreamt of becoming a professional BMX rider – and it very nearly happened, had his parents not convinced him to go to catering college. His career since then has been one of the most lauded and award-winning of any chef cooking today, with Michael winning two Michelin stars at both Gidleigh Park and The Latymer. After leaving them behind, this year Michael bought a small rural pub called The Angel Inn in Hetton; when it’s up and running, we’re no doubt the Michelin Guide inspectors will be among the first through the door.

Michael Caines

Michael Caines made his name at Gidleigh Park, winning the country house hotel two Michelin stars and retaining them for an incredible seventeen years. A few years ago he left to open his own restaurant and hotel just south of Exeter, Devon called Lympstone Manor, which has already won a star. His food is steeped in the French classics, but he’s not afraid to take on influences from every corner of the culinary world. Quality of ingredients, a deftness of touch and a stunning ability to create edible works of art sets him apart as a master of cuisine.

Sat Bains

On an unassuming industrial estate just outside Nottingham, Sat Bains has created one of the UK’s must-visit dining destinations. His eponymous restaurant serves tasting menus that ebb and flow in perfect harmony, with successions of stunning dishes full of interesting flavour combinations and faultless precision. Contemporary, exciting and visionary, Sat’s food has the ability to cause shockwaves throughout the cheffing world.

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