British chef Nelly Robinson heads up the much lauded nel. restaurant on Sydney's Wentworth Avenue, creating contemporary interpretations of modern Australian dishes inspired by past experiences working with acclaimed chef Nigel Howarth at the Michelin-starred Northcote and his northern English roots. See nelrestaurant.com.au.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE TABLE IN LANCASHIRE?
My hometown of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire is the perfect setting to enjoy any dining experience. The Inn at Whitewell is immersed in rich heritage, and happens to be one of the Queen's favourite spots to dine. The must-try dish, in my opinion, is the whole roast Goosnargh corn-fed poussin, flavoured with lemon and thyme, sage and onion croquette, bread sauce and roasting gravy.
My two more casual favourites are Cucina Seventy Three which serves up some of the best authentic Italian dishes with a twist. The quality and freshness of both the local and imported Italian produce are outstanding. The other is the Three Fishes in the tiny picturesque hamlet of Mitton. Owner and executive chef Nigel Howarth serves up the best regional pub food, with hero dishes such as warm Morecambe Bay shrimps with blade mace butter, lemon and a toasted English muffin, and Lancashire hotpot with locally farmed lamb, braised English onions and pickled red cabbage. See innatwhitewell.com; cucinaseventythree.com; thethreefishes.com.
THE LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY OF THE PAST YEAR?
There are many exciting movements within the Lancashire food scene. However, within the past year, The Freemasons in Wiswell has started to make strides across the whole of the UK, winning the Good Food Guide's Best Pub award for the second year running. See freemasonsatwiswell.com.
WHAT IS LANCASHIRE'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET?
The quality of produce. Including poultry from Reg Johnson, who supplies top-quality produce to both Lancashire and beyond. Ian Banks supplies the best grouse, partridge and pigeon around. See jandsgoosnargh.co.uk.
PLACE TO GO ON A DAY OFF?
There's only one thing to do in Lancashire on a day off, and that is to get into your car or jump on a bike and head out to the countryside to take in the breathtaking views of the Ribble Valley, Chipping, Mitton and Clitheroe. My most treasured pastime is touring the local country pubs by bike, stopping for a pint of Lancashire's finest beer in each.
FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN LANCASHIRE?
Picking up a mature Lancashire cheese from Mrs Kirkham's cheese farm, outside of Preston. Eating this in front of a roaring fire with a flagon of mulled wine.
WHAT SHOULD A VISITOR AVOID, FOOD-WISE, IN LANCASHIRE?
It's easy to get sucked into the old-fashioned food that Lancashire has to offer. My advice is to stay away from fish and chips, pies and overly sweet, heavy desserts. Think fresh.
WHAT'S HOT IN THE AREA RIGHT NOW?
Just inside the Lancashire border sits a 60-mile road – The A59 that houses five Michelin Star restaurants. Nigel Haworth of Northcote (my childhood mentor and first boss) has kept his Michelin star for over 19 years and continues to wow with his inspirational dishes. Other A59 hotspots include The Box Tree and The Devonshire Arms. See northcote.com; theboxtree.co.uk; thedevonshirearms.co.uk.
WHERE TO GO ON A BIG NIGHT OUT?
My ideal night in Lancashire is going to a Blackburn Rovers football game. Then heading to Spinningfields, Manchester. The food scene is expanding every year with new Michelin Star restaurants opening up, including The French by Simon Rogan, and many more. See the-french.co.uk.