HIGH CLASS CUISINE
Following an amazing culinary career, award-winning chef Liam Cooper has returned to his roots and taken up the position of Executive Chef at the newly refurbished Mytton Fold Hotel, writes Gail Bailey
Mytton Fold was the first kitchen I ever worked in, as a pot washer, before moving to Northcote to begin my apprenticeship,” Liam Cooper explains as he chats about some of the amazing chefs he’s worked with and the fantastic restaurants he’s been employed in. He is thrilled to have now returned to Mytton Fold, and is looking forward to bringing the hotel to life.
Liam describes Nigel Haworth with whom he completed his three-year apprenticeship at Northcote, as his greatest mentor: “I have a huge amount of respect for Nigel and an enormous amount of gratitude. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
On moving to London aged 18 he continued to work for a series of Michelin star restaurants including spending four years working for Gordon Ramsay: “Gordon is like the character you see on the TV, but that’s because he is a complete perfectionist and a culinary genius. I gained a huge amount of professional knowledge from my time working with him, and still speak to him regularly.”
Liam has spent time working at a number of other high class and Michelin starred restaurants including Claridges, The Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal, The Criterion with Marco Pierre White and he has been Head Chef at Lanes Restaurant in London and The Kensington in Bristol. In 2018 Liam was also Head Chef for the outside catering company, With a Twist, and won the UK Wedding Caterer of the Year at the Wedding Industry Awards.
Liam’s experience has taken him further afield than the UK and he has worked in New York and Paris and he still very much enjoys travelling to research and visit new food cultures.
He explains: “I love to explore the food markets around the world and to taste and find out about new products. Last year I ate live ants for the first time which were absolutely delicious – a really clean, citrus flavour that I’d love to work with, but I’m not sure the Ribble Valley is quite ready for that yet!”
Being a part of the beautifully refurbished Mytton Fold, where he is Executive Chef, is a dream come true for Liam: “When I was approached by the new owners I knew the moment I was shown around the hotel that it was an amazing opportunity for me. Myself and the kitchen brigade are working collectively to ensure that we are pushing boundaries in food and drawing on my past experiences to give our customers something special and different.”
Liam has a simple ethos to his cooking which is about simplified Michelin star cuisine with a twist, where he can bring out the fun in food. He explains that understanding how food works is key to being able to get the best from it.
“I think it is Heston Blumenthal’s influence on me, but I learnt how using the information we have about the components of food, enables us to bring out all the flavours and manipulate it to the best effect – almost a mixture of science and art!”
Heading kitchens for a decade Liam realises how lucky he is to have worked with some of the biggest names in the culinary world and reflects on his experiences, taking the best knowledge from the experts, to put into his own food: “This is a massive opportunity for myself and for the rest of the team,” he says. “We are all very proud to be here and I am relishing the opportunity to put Mytton Fold firmly on the culinary map.”