Chef Swap: Michelin Star Chef Nathan Outlaw creates a stir in Galway
Galway diners are in for a treat this week with the arrival of chef supreme Nathan Outlaw, who has been invited by local Michelin starred JP McMahon to take part in his Chef Swap initiative.
Outlaw, the holder of two Michelin stars, is a world renowned seafood chef and food writer, who has worked with other gastronomic greats such as Rick Stein.
Chatting exclusively to Independent.ie, he told of how he uses Irish ingredients in his London and Dubai restaurants, and would not rule out opening a restaurant in Ireland in the future.
"I’ve come back to Galway again to JP McMahon who owns the Aniar and Cava restaurants in Galway. He also organises Food On The Edge which is an international chefs forum and conference that I’ve attended in the last couple of years," he said.
"I’m here to take part in Chef Swap where he invites chefs from all over the world that he knows to come in to Galway and cook with him for a couple of evenings using Irish produce.
"On Thursday I’m going around with him to all different suppliers. I’ve got an idea of what sort of menu I want to do and we’re going to collaborate together for the evening," he added.
"In this whole thing with collaboration you come up with something that's unique. JP has his experience, I've got my experience, and obviously I'm a seafood chef so seafood is my love and Galway has got fantastic seafood, and the whole of the west coast of Ireland has, so that’s exciting for me," he explained.
"I already use Irish seafood in my restaurant in Dubai and London anyway so it's nice to go and see where it is produced and where it comes from with my own eyes.
"I’ll be here until Sunday doing Friday dinner service and then Saturday and Sunday lunch and dinner service in Aniar.
Refreshingly down-to-earth, amiable and friendly, Outlaw doesn't present any of the tension and self absorbed pomposity that many a Michelin menu master has been prone to.
"I got an easy flight to Dublin and came to Galway on the bus. It was very simple really," he said.
"I love coming to Ireland, it’s my favourite. I live in the south west of England in Cornwall so it's a very Celtic part of the world. I’m married to a Celt, so coming over to Ireland I feel at home and comfortable here.
"People are very polite and everyone just seems to enjoy themselves. I don't need any convincing to come back to Ireland," he said.
"I've been to Dublin and Belfast. I've seen a lot of Ireland in the last few years. I really enjoy it."
Liking it is one thing, but what about opening a restaurant here?
"I'd never rule out doing something here in the future. You never know. It’s an exciting place.
"The restaurant industry is hard in the UK and Ireland generally at the moment but you never say never,"
"If someone said to me five years ago you are going to open a restaurant in London and Dubai I’d have said never believed them, but I’ve got them now, so maybe Ireland? We’ll see," he added.
JP arrived to collect Nathan and show him some of the Galway scene, but before he whisked him away he explained the concept behind Chef Swap.
"It’s about bringing different international chefs to Galway to collaborate over a meal, to share ideas, and to showcase the products and the landscape we have in the west of Ireland to the visiting chef.
"This is our third one and we have one a month planned for the year. For me sometimes it’s hard to get out and travel and experience different styles and techniques in food so it’s an interesting way to share knowledge," he said.
Nathan said the most important thing about cooking and food is making it fun.
"If we’re going to have fun and there may be a few drinks involved then I’m up for it," he said.