The Weekender Interview: Nathan Outlaw

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nathan Outlaw Port Isaac
Originally from Kent, Outlaw worked for a string of high profile chefs including Eric Chavot and Rick Stein before striking out on his own in the south west. He now runs five fish-focused restaurants including his flagship two-star in Cornwall - which was ranked the 10th best restaurant in the country at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards earlier this week - and the one-star Outlaw's at the Capital in London.

What image do you currently have on your phone’s wallpaper?
The mackerel fish tail from our logo.

What was your first job?
Selling trainers on a market stall when I was about 14. It was fun, and we got bacon rolls given to us as part payment. 

Gordon or Marco? 
That’s unfair. It’s like asking who’s your favourite child. Impossible to choose!

What was the last film you saw in the cinema? 
The latest Star Wars film, Solo. I’m a secret Jedi.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Cake. Any cake. I love it. 

Where are you going on your next holiday? 
Somewhere quiet, remote and away from it all in Cornwall.

What industry figure do you most admire (and why)? 
Rick Stein. He set me off on the path of seafood cookery and he’s still enthusiastic about it. The man’s a legend.

If you weren’t in restaurants, what would you do? 
Something in the music industry. I don’t play so it would need to be in production. I have a huge collection of music, all sorts….except country and western...

Biggest regret?
Not playing rugby as a youngster.  It’s a game I’ve only discovered since I got older.

Pet hate?
Liars.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
“You’ve got no flavour". 

Marmite: love it or hate it?
Absolutely love it.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Simple, clean, fishy.

What country do you next want to visit?
Japan.

Most overrated food?
Pointless foraged garnishes that add nothing to the dish.

Restaurant czar for a day – what would you implement?
Kids eat free. It might save them from addiction to junk food.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Giles Coren, a review after he’d visited Outlaw’s at The Capital, my London restaurant. He dined with Andrew Lloyd-Webber and was drunk.

What made you want to become a chef?
It just happened and seemed the right thing to do.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Mainly things that are vegetarian and/or gluten and dairy free. My son is vegetarian now and my daughter is gluten and dairy free. It makes life interesting.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don’t do it unless you really enjoy it and have come into the industry with your eyes open. 

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My 10-year-old oyster knife. It has a really long, thin, flexible blade and I’ve not found another one to beat it.

iPhone or Android?
iPhone.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wash your hands well before going to the loo when you’ve been chopping chillies. 

What’s your earliest memory? 
Christmas. A whole tin of Quality Street being thrown into the air by my Dad, like they used to do on the TV advert! 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I don’t really let my hair down. I’m not into partying and that sort of thing. I prefer somewhere on my own with my music to unwind. Often the car.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram. I like taking photos.

Tipple of choice?
Guinness.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Good, old-fashioned toad-in-the-hole.

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