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