Pip Lacey may not have had the most traditional career path to becoming a chef, but through her drive and love of food she has climbed her way to the top of the restaurant industry and worked alongside some of the country’s most famous chefs.
Although she enjoyed food and cooking throughout her younger years, Lacey initially had her heart set on careers outside of the kitchen. After trying for a few years to make it as a professional snowboarder, she settled in London and decided to start a graphic design business, using the skills she had learnt during an art foundation course years before.
However, having spent a few years at a loss as to what to do next, a friend suggested to her that she became a chef, and the rest, as they say, is history. Despite only having experience working in front of house at a restaurant, she applied for a commis chef position at Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany and was offered the job.
Here, she worked under Angela Hartnett, who became somewhat of a mentor to her over the next few years. After a short stint working in the kitchen at the three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Lacey was asked by Hartnett to come and work in the kitchen of her Italian restaurant Murano. Within just three years, Lacey was made head chef of Murano’s Michelin-starred kitchen.
Despite having shot up through the ranks in just five years of working in the industry, Lacey still had her sights set on bigger things and decided that she wanted to set up her own restaurant. Alongside long-time friend Gordy Mcintyre, she started a series of successful pop-ups where she was able to cook her own menu. Finally, in 2018, Lacey and Mcintyre opened their restaurant Hicce in King’s Cross’s Coal Drops Yard to much acclaim. Hicce’s modern British menu is largely focused around cooking the ingredients in a wood-fired oven.
All while in the process of setting up Hicce, Lacey also entered BBC’s Great British Menu twice, and in 2017 successfully took her starter all the way to the final banquet celebrating 140 years of Wimbledon.
Having only spent just over 10 years working in the industry, Lacey has demonstrated that with enough ambition and determination, it’s possible to become a top chef regardless of your age or prior experience.