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IWD series of inspirational women: Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen to debut at Royal Ascot


Lisa Goodwin Allen, the Executive Chef of Michelin Starred Northcote and winner of Great British Menu season 5, is making her debut at this year’s Royal Ascot. As part of our series of interviews with inspiring women to mark Women’s History Month, we invited Lisa to tell us more about her career and what we can expect to see from her Royal Ascot menu.

Do you have any female role models who inspired your career as a chef?

“I think for me it’s Angela Hartnett and Clare Smyth. The beauty about this field is that a lot of people have come from different backgrounds and I think those two ladies have really been pioneers in the industry and have come out amazingly well. We all admire how hard they work and what they’ve achieved.”

Who have you been most excited to cook for during your career?

“Most excited, well I don’t know to be honest with you. We have a food festival that runs here at Northcote which is called Obsession. It runs between the end of January and the beginning of February. We have different people come and cook for one night. We do 17 nights with a different chef, and we have them come from all over the world. I wouldn’t say I cook for them, but we cook with them, because we help them produce a menu here at Northcote for our customers which is really quite special. I’ve been lucky enough to be in the kitchen with quite a lot of people that I admire for the jobs they do. These include a three-star Japanese Hiroshi and even an occasion when David Thompson had Norm. It’s been an honour to have cooked with all these people. Angela’s been in there, and many others, so I’ve been very lucky to do that.”


You will debut at Royal Ascot this year. Has this been an ambition of yours?

“Well do you know what, it has always been an ambition. I’ve always looked at it and seen the chefs, because I do love Royal Ascot. I went once, on my 30th birthday and I just think it’s an incredible venue. It’s the event of the year, and I’m so honoured to be part of the lineup. It’s been quite an ambition, it’s amazing, so hopefully if I do a good enough job, I’ll be back next year.”

What will inspire your Ascot menu this year?

“As a chef I’m always inspired by the seasons, we work a lot with seasonality because I do believe we get the best flavour. I also quite like those nostalgic memories, a little bit of the classics, but then cooking with the new modern techniques that I do. But saying that, for me it’s got to be a stunning, tasty plate of food that will win a customer over, that will keep them coming back time and time again. Seasonality and keeping my stamp on things is where I’ve gone with it.

How do you ensure quality doesn’t suffer when cooking for large groups of people?

“Seasonality helps because the power of a flavour is the best and you really have to keep your own personality. A bit of what we do at Northcote, but just so that we consistently do it over and over again, customer one is served exactly the same as customer 180, and it’s about that precision within the ingredients that you’re using and your techniques.”

What would you what advice would you give to like home cooks trying to incorporate some Michelin flair?

“Try new things, try new flavour combinations and try looking at little techniques. I mean there’s so much available that you can get in a domestic kit. Do cooking classes, it educates you and it gives you that intro, it gives you the appetite to try new things.”

What words of encouragement would you give to other women to inspire their professional journeys?

“Be yourself, be prepared to work hard, and just learn as much as you can on the way. For me it’s about how determined and where your passion lies as to how far you get. I encourage people to come into this fantastic hospitality industry, I mean it is it is a hard industry, but it’s very rewarding and you meet so many people that can influence you in different ways.”

What changes we could expect to see to the in the Northcote menu?

“I’ve been at Northcote for such a long time, and it’s grown so much, going from a small restaurant with 14 bedrooms to a mini boutique hotel with 26 bedrooms, a cook school, chef’s table and Northcote’s got so much to offer that we wanted to bring a higher end of dining.

We will move the restaurant down to stay on the lawn, it’ll have its own restaurant, which will be like 40, 48 covers tasting menu. Then the restaurant we’ve got now and the kitchen that we’ve got now will turn into a brasserie and give that more high-end dining but just in a relaxed way whether it’s you know split lobsters, grilled steaks with a real kind of authentic feel, that people can come two or three nights and have something different. And again, you know it keeps us pushing, keeps us upgrading, keeps us busy.”


We bring you more interviews in this year’s IWD series with inspirational women.