Growing up in the gorgeous Scottish Trossachs, Nick’s love of the outdoors and native country came early. But it wasn’t until he answered an advert for a navigating officer in the merchant navy that he discovered the wonderful flavours of global cuisine.
Returning to Scotland to study at the Glasgow College of Nautical studies, he found himself experimenting in the kitchen in an attempt to copy those exotic dishes he experienced on his world travels, and it wasn’t long before a fascination with food began to develop. This soon grew into a consuming passion. and in
In 1986 he opened his first restaurant, Braeval, near Aberfoyle. Entirely self-taught, Nick was soon causing a stir with his fresh style of cooking, and just a year after Braeval opened he won the Scottish Field and Bollinger Newcomer of the Year Award. Four years later, Nick’s status as one of Scotland’s finest chefs was confirmed as the restaurant was awarded a coveted Michelin star.TV career
Nick stumbled into the world of television, where his irreverent style combined with Scotland’s fabulous natural produce created Wild Harvest in 1996. Wild Harvest 2 and Island Harvest soon followed, all with accompanying books, and these programmes have now been enjoyed by millions of viewers around the world, from Sweden to Zimbabwe.
Other shows include Who’ll Do The Pudding, Back to Basics, and Nick Nairn and the Dinner Ladies, for which he won a Glenfiddich award in 2004.
He then took part in three seasons of the Great British Menu, winning the Scottish round in season one, and making it through to the final of the programme. Ultimately, he was voted for by the public to cook the main course at the banquet for the Queen’s 80th birthday.
Nowadays, you'll find Nick on BBC's Landward with best mate Dougie Vipond, with whom he also co-hosts the BBC's Great Food guys.
The Cook School
A desire to spread his knowledge of cooking good, simple food brought about the opening of the Nick Nairn Cook School in April 2000. With its idyllic setting on the Lake of Menteith, the school soon built up a well-deserved reputation as a foodies’ heaven with state-of-the-art facilities for up to 24 students to enjoy hands-on cooking.
At the Cook School, pupils benefit from of an unprecedented level of tuition from Nick and his team of chef tutors, including the some of Nick‘s A-list celebrity chums. The Cook School has a reputation for great tuition, using fantastic ingredients from some of Scotland’s finest producers, and are always a fun day out full of cheffy tips, cooking and chat.
In 2007 Stirling University recognised Nick’s contributions to Scottish cuisine and his work in promoting healthy eating and awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Nick remains totally passionate about Scotland’s fabulous natural larder. He uses every possible opportunity to promote his passions; his burning ambition being to make his fellow Scots enthusiastic about the wonderful produce that surrounds them. He is also keen to encourage Scotland to improve its relationship with food and has seen this aim come a very long way in the past 20 years. He lead a think-tank, The Menteith Group and the resulting Scottish Food Family, which campaigned to improve the Scottish relationship with food through better school meals and food education.