The new executive chef of one of the country’s top hotels and Michelin star restaurants has described how she is looking forward to putting her stamp on its kitchen and inspiring her brigade to even greater achievements.
Lisa Goodwin-Allen, who has worked at Northcote in Lancashire for more than 17 years, was recently promoted to the top position after her predecessor Nigel Haworth revealed he was moving to an ambassadorial role.
Northcote boasts one of the most impressive kitchens in the hotel sector following a huge redesign four years ago and the facility now supports a brigade of almost 30 chefs.
Goodwin-Allen told FEJ that taking on the role was the “next step” for her. “I’ve now got the opportunity to try and put more of my stamp on things. I am very ambitious and I like to see myself and my team moving forward, so a position like this for me is great. I have been here for 14 years working with Nigel and we have always worked well together, but now it is my time to be able to pull my philosophy through a little bit more within food and the kitchens here Northcote.”
When Goodwin-Allen initially joined the hotel it employed fewer than eight chefs, but as the business has grown and gained a reputation for being one of the best places to dine in the north-west so too has its culinary team.
Asked what her plans are over the next 12 months, she said: “I’d like to change things up a little bit more, to drive forward and to progress the team because at the end of the day you can’t do anything without a great team. There are some fantastic people in there and we all work really well together so it is about becoming one. We are looking at creating more of a structure to get suppliers in to demonstrations and things like that, to keep the guys energised and learning. Education is massive thing.”
Goodwin-Allen cites her mentor Haworth, as well as David Everitt Matthias and Angela Hartnett, as inspirational figures in the cooking world, and said that “organisation” is the key to running a kitchen expected to meet the highest standards.
“I am a big believer that if you organise things properly, and everything has systems, then your food is going to be much better and your theatre work will be much more cleaner. At the end of the day every dish that goes out has got to be perfect.”