Five minutes with Nathan Outlaw

This West Country Michelin-starred chef shares his love of a simple meal, sharp blades and his weak spot for battenberg cake.

Hailing from Maidstone in Kent, Nathan Outlaw is renowned for his love of British seafood. He is a huge supporter of locally sourced and sustainable meat and fish, allowing the individual flavours to shine through in his clean, simple cooking style.

He currently holds four Michelin stars: two at his eponymous restaurant in Port Isaac, and one each at Outlaw's at The Capital and Outlaw's Fish Kitchen.

What would you make for yourself for a simple evening meal?
That depends how simple. Simple and very quick would be cheese on toast, I love it. For a proper meal, it would probably be something like shepherds pie - a childhood favourite. I make it with whatever's to hand, although it tends to be beef rather than lamb, purely because it's always in the fridge. 

It does require quite a few different steps, so I'd suggest making two and freezing one so you can always put something tasty on the table. I also add a slug of brown sauce to the meat mixture and grate some cheese on top to finish.

What is your favourite kitchen utensil or gadget?
My Flint & Flame filleting knife - it's the latest addition to my collection and I'm really impressed with the balance and the blade. It's easy to keep sharp and there's enough play in the blade to manoeuvre it easily.

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​Port Isaac lobster risotto with orange and basil

What is your favourite recipe from your cook book?
The lobster risotto. It's a recipe I first created when I ran the Black Pig, my first restaurant, so there's a sentimental element to it. It's one I return to again and again, often at the request of customers.  

The one item or ingredient that you’re currently obsessed with?
Cornish seaweed. I buy mine from the Cornish Seaweed Company. It's a fantastic ingredient that isn't utilised enough in the UK. Obviously in Japan and Ireland they've understood the value of it for ages but we're only just getting into it here.

Not only is it nutritionally dense but it also adds an extra layer of flavour. There are varying types, with different tastes and textures. I like dulce, sea lettuce, kelp and gutweed, all from the Cornwall coastline. Mix them into butter, breads, infuse into stocks and sauces, and wrap around fish to steam cook.

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Nathan Outlaw (right) in his kitchen at Port Isaac with head chef, Chris Simpson (left)

Your favourite London restaurant?
A Wong in Victoria - Andrew Wong is a fantastic chef and cooks modern Chinese cuisine. The food is superb and I learn new things whenever I go.

I also really like Pitt Cue Co in Soho. Tom Adams and Tom Swanny know all there is about meat, cooking the very best quality with real respect. They're as obsessed with meat as I am with fish. That's probably why we get on so well.

What are your favourite snacks?
I can't resist cake, especially battenburg and victoria sponge; I like marmite on toast too. I try to stick to healthier fruit options but it doesn't always work.

View recipe: ​Port Isaac lobster risotto with orange and basil


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