What inspired you to become a chef?
My passion for food was first started as a teenager. I struggled at school but enjoyed practical subjects especially Home Economics and found my niche with food. I was very shy as a young girl. Cooking was my way of expressing myself and showing my personality.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
My culinary career began at Lancaster & Morecambe College. After graduating, I worked in several prestigious restaurants, including the two Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Gloucester. Working at Le Champignon was probably one of the best experiences in my culinary career because it is such a small kitchen and the 1-to-1 tuition I had from David was invaluable.
What can guests expect from the menu at Northcote?
My food is Modern British but I like to bring my own style to the classics giving them a fresh and vibrant twist. My roots are in the North West and this comes through in my style. I always aim to keep up with the times and try to evolve our menus.
I like food to be very visual, very elegant and packed with great flavours. It must also taste of what you see. Food is very emotive – I love re-visiting some of the old classics. Our new six-course Gourmet Tasting menu will change seasonally and will incorporate my Lancashire roots into creative dishes.
What’s your favourite spring ingredient?
My favourite ingredients change all the time, depending on what’s in season or new things I’ve discovered from local producers. In spring, I love using foraged herbs such as wood sorrel and meadowsweet. Wild garlic is also a firm favourite, it’s so versatile and although we grow a lot of our own around the Northcote gardens.
What does hospitality mean to you?
It’s an iconic industry to be in – you ‘do’ hospitality everyday, from your home life, to going to work to socialising. In hospitality you make lifelong friends, people that you can learn from and be inspired by, who are creating amazing dining experiences.
Do you have any culinary role models?
Other female chefs – especially Clare Smyth and Angela Hartnett. They’re at the very top of her game, well-known and very well-respected in the industry and has worked incredibly hard to get there. piration. Nigel Haworth has been a mentor to me. I was here at Northcote learning the ropes aged 23 and I’m still learning now. He’s a true legend.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Absorb everything going on around you like a sponge. Be willing to learn and be open to advice. Get all the experience that you can.
Describe your cooking style in three words
Seasonal; flavourful, nostalgic
Name three of your favourite restaurants.
One of the best eating experiences I’ve ever had was at Alinea in Chicago, quite a few years ago. From start to finish the meal was amazing. The cuisine was outstanding as was the attention to detail, everything about the service & food was unbelievable. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my culinary experiences!
Really love the Test Kitchen in Cape Town and I recently ate at Core by Clare Smyth which was opened last year – it was fantastic!
What’s next on the cards?
I have full autonomy over the kitchen team now so I am developing the menus and dishes even further and progressing with the team to see what we can achieve together. I’m still ambitious as ever and I’m always willing to share my skills and support others in the industry. Hopefully next year, I’d love to do my own cookbook! But you never know what’s just around the corner!
Try Lisa’s dishes for yourself and find out more by clicking here.