Nick Buckingham - Masterchef and Host...
"Born into the catering trade, I started cooking at the age of seven in my parent's restaurant
. At fifteen I began a three year apprenticeship at the Red Horse Hotel
, Stratford Upon Avon, training under Mr Rouxette who was Escoffier Commi de Cuisine. I studied further at the South Warwickshire College for my City and Guilds 147 and 151, whilst attaining the College Prize for Catering Student of the Year and the College Prize for Service, Effort and Progress awards
at the Hotel
Olympia and the East Midlands Exhibition.
During the next 3 years I gained a sound appreciation of all aspects of the kitchen. At the age of 21 I was offered a position in private service as chef to the music entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, cooking from small elite dinner parties to banquet and buffets of 800 in London, New York, Los Angeles, Morocco and Paris. I was also in charge of household expenses and the daily running of all these establishments.
I accepted the position of Head Banqueting Chef at the Institute of Directors, Belgrade Square, in order to gain more experience in this field of catering, initially taking this position because I was interested in owning my own restaurant
. The financial climate in 1973 changed my mind.
As Chef Manager at the Black Lion Hotel
, St Albans, I successfully increased the takings from £1000 to £2000 a week in the first trading year.
This is where I met Eric Marsh, General Manager for the Newling Ward Hotels, the company who owned the Black Lion Hotel
During the 1975 recession, Newling Ward sold several hotels to reduce their borrowings and we were relocated to the Bedford Arms Hotel
Eric Marsh then moved to Derbyshire
where he aquired the lease on the Cavendish Hotel
, Baslow, in August 1975. I was offered the position of Executive Chef at this new venture.
There have been many accolades bestowed on the Cavendish Hotel
and myself, the one I am most proud of is being the invitation to enter the "Taittinger Prix Culinaire International" in 1986 where 360 international chefs took part. This resulted in my being heralded in the national press as the 3rd in the world and, in 1987 being made a Master Chef of Great Britain.
In 1999, and after twenty five years at the Cavendish Hotel
and forty three years of cooking, I decided to slow down a bit.... so I opened a new hotel