Jonathan Nichols is our Executive Chef and Co-owner at Bertie’s. Alongside his trusty team he has created the most exquisite food for thousands of satisfied guests. We get to know him a little better and find out what he thinks makes the perfect wedding menu.
Where did it all begin for you?
I started out washing pots at the age of 14 in a little Italian restaurant in Guiseley, then I got my first proper chef job at a hotel in Ilkley called Rombalds. From there I worked my way up to becoming Head Chef at Clarks in Bradford. I opened my first business in 1993 and have owned two restaurants since then. It was 2013 when the opportunity arose to get involved in Bertie’s and I am now the Executive Chef and Co-owner.
What is the best thing about being a chef at Bertie’s?
It has to be knowing that people really enjoy the food we cook for them. Food is a very personal thing and it is linked with memories of special occasions – especially with weddings. It is a real pleasure to know that I have contributed to making the bride and groom’s day special.
What makes a great wedding menu?
From the bride and groom’s point of view, they are selecting and catering for the needs of their guests. So, going for simple food done well would always be my recommendation. Make sure that the ingredients are the best quality they can be. We get all our meat from Bolster Moor Farm in Golcar, they are renowned craft butchers and we know that the meat is great quality and has been reared locally. I’ve got good relationships with my suppliers, some of them I’ve worked with for over 30 years, so I’m assured of quality, seasonal ingredients.
Are there any current trends in catering for weddings?
This actually links back to what I’ve just mentioned – going back to basics and keeping food simple. Even Michelin-starred restaurants are focusing on simpler food, but cooked to perfection.
Have you got any tips for the perfect winter wedding menu?
In the winter, people want comforting, satisfying food, so something like slow cooked meats and luscious sauces. My favourite at Bertie’s is our Featherblade of Beef, which is slow cooked overnight and served with Creamed Potato and a Bourguignon Sauce. And for dessert, you can’t do better than a Treacle Tart with Clotted Cream or a Sticky Toffee Pudding.
What’s your advice for anyone wanting a career in catering?
Being a chef is a lifestyle choice; it’s not a normal job and there are a lot of sacrifices to make. But if you are passionate about food then cooking for people and giving them enjoyment through your food is extremely rewarding. In my experience, you can’t beat learning on the job, so approach restaurants for jobs and apprenticeships.
P.S. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for recruitment opportunities at Bertie’s.