Michelin starred chef, Nick Nairn, spent seven years travelling in Asia as a navigating officer in the merchant navy and fell in love with food. He opened his first restaurant, Braeval, in 1986. He’s appeared in his own series for the BBC, Saturday Kitchen and This Morning.
Tell us about your kitchen at home
I knew exactly what I wanted when I renovated our 19th Century barn extension, which was incorporated into our farmhouse to give us a bigger and more functional kitchen.
The old barn was completely gutted and steel beams were put into the vaulted ceiling. Kitchens International were our first port of call for the design, as I’d worked with them before. They turned my ideas into a wonderful reality. The resulting kitchen, with its British-made Callerton furniture, enhances the traditional look of the building but also provides a very contemporary and easy to use kitchen. What makes a kitchen really special is the perfect blend between technology and little treasures, and my kitchen certainly has that just right.
Would you describe your kitchen as the heart of your home?
Yes very much so. The driving force of the design was so that I can cook while the kids do homework, socialise, etc., at the table. They installed floor to ceiling windows to maximise views to north and south as the kitchen is all about light. There has been lots of upcycling and recycling to get the look; the high door came from a hay loft in the original farm. I also wanted lots of cupboards so it’s clutter free.
You’re used to cooking under pressure – having cooked for The Queen – what kitchen appliances make your life easier?
The Falcon range cooker was chosen because it’s very functional and I need this as a chef. An induction hob is invaluable; it’s the only type of hob I would choose! A big sink was chosen with a tall swan neck tap for filling big pans. Two sinks are a must, one for food prep and the other washing.
What advice would you give homeowners when buying a kitchen?
Plan, plan and plan! Time spent at the design phase will reap huge benefits. The kitchen will normally be in situ for at least 10 years and will be used more than any other room in the house so the design must be thorough and extensive. But above all, designing your kitchen should be fun. Since a kitchen is used every day it’s worth choosing good quality furniture and appliances as it is a false economy to choose lower quality when it will get heavy daily use.
The better you spend the longer it will last looking good. You don’t need to just stick with one manufacturer – a good designer, from an independent showroom, will offer you a mix and match of different styles and makes.
Nick Nairn | nicknairncookschool.com