Nelly Robin­son

From Lan­cashire to Syd­ney, this chef is cook­ing up a win­ning feast

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - LIVING - Words Cather­ine Nikas-Bou­los Pic­tures Toby Zerna More nel­restau­rant.com.au

This self-con­fessed UK coun­try boy has cer­tainly come a long way (lit­er­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally) since mov­ing from Black­burn in Lan­cashire to Syd­ney. Now a renowned chef and restau­ra­teur head­ing up Nel in Surry Hills, Nelly Robin­son says it all started when he ar­rived here in 2010.

“I had never lived in a city be­fore, and sud­denly I was sur­rounded by build­ings in­stead of sheep and cows. I was 25, I came with £150 and didn’t know I needed to pay a bond to se­cure an apart­ment. I had to learn re­ally quickly,” he says.

“One day I am play­ing foot­ball in the fields in our lo­cal vil­lage, and the next I had moved to a big city. It was a bit over­whelm­ing but I ad­justed and made new friends.

“Me and my best mate thought ‘let’s go on an ad­ven­ture’ that’s how it all started.”

With the same ca­sual de­ter­mi­na­tion he opened his restau­rant, where he of­fers an eight-course menu that changes ev­ery six weeks to show­case the best sea­sonal pro­duce.

“The lunch menu also changes weekly to give peo­ple some­thing new to come back for,” Nelly says. “Also, I find the staff get bored mak­ing the same things over and over. It’s good to be chal­lenged.”

Nelly had the hon­our of cook­ing for Queen n El­iz­a­beth II’s 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions at the e Bri­tish High Com­mis­sion in Can­berra. He has s also cooked in the Mal­dives, Bangkok and New Zealand.

While he av­er­ages 100 hours a week in his fine din­ing restau­rant, he likes to keep things sim­ple at home.

“Don’t laugh, but noth­ing beats a good In­dian curry with rice, naan bread and pap­pad­ums,” he says.

Framed photo

As a chef, I work crazy hours and get home at “stupid-o’clock”, so it’s nice to have pho­tos around the house to see Danielle’s face when I get in.

Ob­ses­sion 18

This is from a fa­mous food fes­ti­val in the UK where 18 chefs from around the world are in­vited to spend 18 days cre­at­ing good food. I was for­tu­nate to get an in­vite.

World War II map

There are only five of these in the world and Danielle man­aged to get hold of one. It shows which ar­eas were hos­tile and which coun­tries were free in the world at that time.

Chef Nelly Robin­son Stan­more with part­ner Danielle RichardsLola is a french bull­dog and she is typ­i­cally French, that is, stub­born. Then she is very re­laxed and wants com­fort. She calls the shots. She is so adorable and fits into our life­style re­ally well.Danielle has beau­ti­fully de­signed the house in Scan­di­na­vian style. She does all that, I just cook. I’m so busy at work, so I re­ally value my quiet home life.

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