Meet NCOTY finalist Nathan Cornwell, head chef at The Barn at Moor Hall, Ormskirk

Nathan Cornwell

Nathan has worked in Michelin starred restaurants for the last twelve years including Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Le Champignon Sauvage, Kitchen W8 and now he’s heading up The Barn at Moor Hall. It is amazing being part of the driving force of the industry, constantly trying to be better and watched over by one the best chefs in the country, Mark Birchall.

One of the reasons he loves being a chef is that there is always something new to learn as no matter how the seasons change, your food has to change accordingly. Mostly he enjoys being part of a team that is fully supportive of the cause and is always striving to be better.

Nathan has wanted to be a chef from a young age, having always been fascinated with food and the industry. He feels lucky enough to have had some of the strongest mentors in the country so it’s impossible to say who the biggest inspiration is but all have had the same drive to be the best they can and as committed to their job as possible. One of his most memorable days at work was during his time at Geranium when Ferran Adria dined there.

The National Chef of the Year is a competition which Nathan has always wanted to do but he just felt that now was the right time to enter and give it a go. Getting hold of ingredients was a real challenge during lockdown, but luckily all his suppliers made a real effort and made it happen, which he will always appreciate.

Nathan used the time during lockdown to plan for the return to work so they could come back stronger and more organised and ready for all the changes they would need to make. He also worked on future menus, having the time to really think and plan ahead.

When creating his semi-final dish, he wanted to show the importance of provenance and purveying his style. Winning the title would mean a great deal as 2020 has had so many challenges so to walk away as the champion would add something really positive. He believes to be successful you have to be 100 percent committed to your job and says as long as you give everything your all, you will come out on top. Simple, seasonal and delicious are the three words he would use to describe his style of cooking.

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