From restaurateur to celebrity chef and food campaigner, Nick Nairn has had a long and pioneering career in the UK food industry. A familiar face from television, Nick is equally famous for his staunch support of top quality Scottish produce and passionate advo- cacy of healthy eating. Based at his stunning Port of Menteith Cook School Nick’s hectic schedule includes teaching there, as well as filming and writing. He is also in demand as a food consultant, and travels the world giving cooking demonstrations and speaking on food-related issues. Nick Nairn Consulting currently runs The Kailyard restaurant at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane hotel, and has helped several other businesses get kick-started.
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 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
As word of his cooking skills spread, 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. His most recent television venture, Paul & Nick’s Big Food Trip, sees him and his chef buddy Paul Rankin sailing round the coasts of Ireland and Scotland cooking up feasts for the locals. This is now into its fifth series including two filmed in the USA, and Nick and Paul have been filming the latest series in Canada during 2016.
Nick is also among the team of presenters on long-running rural affairs programme, Landward. This was his first show where he wasn’t cooking for the cameras. The series investigates topical countryside issues such as climate change and land usage. And before that he was a regular chef on the popular show, Ready Steady Cook.
While his successful television career grew, Nick continued to work as a chef, opening Nairns Restaurant with Rooms in 1997. It was an instant success and proved pivotal to the burgeoning Glasgow restaurant scene.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 the same year he opened his Cook School, Nick also established Nairns Anywhere, an event catering business boasting restau- rant quality food in any location. In 2001, Compass group acquired Nairns Anywhere to provide the highest level of food and ser- vice in the prestige catering sector.
In 2007 Stirling University recognised Nick’s contributions to Scottish cuisine and his work in promoting healthy eating and award- ed him an honorary doctorate.Passionate about Scotland’s produce
Nick remains totally passionate about Scotland’s fabulous natural larder. He uses every possible opportunity to promote his pas- sions; 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.
Nick appears regularly on Landward on BBC2 Scotland, as well as appearing on Saturday Kitchen, and The One Show. He is now into his fifth series of his TV cooking venture with friend Paul Rankin, 'Paul & Nick's Big Food Trip', enjoyed on STV and UTV since 2012.
He can also be heard on BBC Scotland Radio, commenting on food issues. And he is also in demand for voiceover work.
2013-19 STV & UTV Paul & Nick's Big Food Trip (series 2-5, including Big American Food Trip)
2012-13 UTV Paul & Nick's Big Food Trip (series 1)
2010 Channel 4 co-presenter, Iron Chef UK
2009 ITV presenter, Taste The Nation
2009 BBC2 presenter, Eating In The Sun
2009 BBC2 Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is
2009 BBC1 The One Show, presented one-off specials
2007 BBC2 represented Scotland, Great British Menu
2007-present BBC2 Scotland co-presenter, Landward
2007-present BBC1 presenter and contributor, Saturday Kitchen
2006 BBC2, finalist for Scotland, Great British Menu
2003 BBC Scotland presenter, Nick Nairn And The Dinner Ladies
2003 Scottish Executive Healthy Eating advertising campaign
2002 BBC1 presenter So You Think You’re A Good Driver?
2001 Foodfest 2001, TV advertising campaign
2001 BBC2 presenter Kitchen Invaders
2000 BBC radio Scotland, presenter Cooking With History
2000 Carlton TV, presenter, Back To Basics with Nick Nairn
1998 ITV presenter GMTV Christmas Cooking with Nick Nairn
1998-present BBC1 presenter Celebrity Ready Steady Cook
1997 BBC1 Island Harvest
1996 BBC2 Wild Harvest 2 with Nick Nairn
1996-98 BBC2 Presenter Who’ll Do The Pudding
1996- Contributor to Food and Drink, Masterchef, Junior Masterchef, Light lunch and Carlton Daily, appearances on Friends Like These, Celebrity Weakest Link, Beechgrove Garden, This Morning and Good Food Live
1996-2010 BBC2 presenter Ready Steady Cook
1996 BBC2 Wild Harvest with Nick Nairn
2007 Honorary Doctorate from Stirling University for outstanding contribution to Scottish cuisine and work in promoting healthy eating
2005 Nick Nairn’s Top 100 Chicken recipes selected in Food and Wine magazine’s top 25 cook books of 2004
2004 Glenfiddich Food and Drink Awards – Winner Best Food and Drink TV Show for Nick Nairn And The Dinner Ladies
2003 Fellowship to the Master Chefs of Great Britain
2002 Best Cookware and Bakeware, 2002 Housewares Industry Awards. For Nick Nairn / Tower Cookware range
2002 Personality of The Year, Food Processing Awards 2002 for development of Baxter’s sauce range
2000 Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2000 for contribution to Food & Drink
2000 Winners @the Web Design and Innovation
1998 Jacob’s Creek World Food Media Award – Silver Ladle for Best Television Show (Island Harvest)
1998 Tourist Board Thistle Award for Tourism And The Media 1998 President Drambuie Chefs School
1996 Scottish Chef of the Year
1992 Member Masterchefs of Great Britain
1991 Founder member Scottish Chefs Association
1991 Macallan/Decanter Restaurant of the Year
1991 Michelin star (at Braeval restaurant)
1991 Good Food Guide, Country Restaurant of the Year
1990 Scottish Field/Charles Heidsieck Scottish Restaurant of the Year
1987 Acorn Award, Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine
1986 Scottish Field/Bollinger Newcomer of the Year