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Provenance. Sustainability. Using local produce. These are concepts that have become fashionable in British food over the last few years. As head chef of Northcote restaurant, Lisa Goodwin-Allen has been banging the drum for seasonal British food for two decades, reinventing classic dishes in her signature playful style. Along the way she has received a litany of plaudits and awards, and retained Northcote’s Michelin star every year since taking over the kitchen in 2003.
Lisa was born and raised in nearby Lancaster, and discovered a passion for food in her childhood. She found that cooking combined her practical and artistic sensibilities, and jumped at the opportunity to study hospitality at nearby Lancaster and Morecambe College. Time in kitchens at Holbeck Ghyll in the Lake District, and two Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage with David Everitt-Matthias soon followed, but Lisa felt drawn to return home, and she took a job with Nigel Haworth at Northcote in 2001. It was a move that would define the rest of her career, as Haworth would become an invaluable mentor.
Two years later, Haworth would make Goodwin-Allen Northcote head chef at just 23 years old - a huge responsibility for a young chef. Between them, the pair would continue to reinvent Northcote and make it a trailblazer for British food, not just on menus but also behind the scenes; the kitchen team grew from eight to 30, and Northcote expanded to include a cookery school, a brand new kitchen and larger premises. Lisa and Nigel also started an apprenticeship scheme within the kitchen to develop young chefs, and founded Obsession - a food festival that has become one of the world’s biggest and best.
Haworth stepped away from Northcote in 2018, and Lisa has continued to stamp her mark on every aspect of the business, maintaining its position a leading light for modern British food. She also oversees the food at The Game Bird and The American Bar at the Stafford Hotel in London, after Stafford owner Britannia Hospitality bought Northcote in 2021.