Accomplished local chef and restauranteur, Jonathan Nichols, studied City & Guilds in Catering at Bradford & Ilkley Community College from 1986 to 1988.
“I enjoyed cooking from a very early age and from
14 I worked at weekends in both the restaurant and
kitchen at a friend’s restaurant, Giovanni’s in Guiseley.
I suppose it was partly this experience that spurred
me on to enrol in a full time catering course in 1986.
At the time it was 706 1 & 2 General Catering, which
has now been replaced with NVQ level 1, 2 & 3.
Many good times were had at College. We would all meet up in the morning at the ground floor canteen before dispersing to our relative class rooms. There was always good team spirit amongst catering students. Trips abroad were always good fun and informative. Our last night in Lido de Jesolo was spent turning the rooms of those in the year above us upside down, literally everything - beds, wardrobes etc - although Andrew Bradley and Dean Eccles didn’t see the funny side at the time. Oh to be young again!
The lecturers continuously pushed students who wanted to go places and make a life out of catering. Janet Dobbs and Humphrey Greenwood both helped me achieve best bakery student and win the Renshaw cup; Mr Schwaller was always good fun, whilst maintaining high standards. I also achieved gold, silver and bronze medals in cookery competitions as a student. College was great in teaching you the correct, classical ways of doing things and not to cut corners, as you always get found out in the end. This philosophy has remained with me since.”
Jonathan gained experience working with a full brigade of French chefs at Holdsworth House as a student volunteer, and this eventually led to a full-time position as Sous Chef, after being Chef de Partie at Rombalds in Ilkley. He then became Head Chef at Clarks Restaurant in Bradford. In November 1993 he opened my first restaurant with former College student and then business partner, Andrew Bradley, turning a run down business into a thriving successful one. Jonathan sold his share of Bradley’s Restaurant in 2001.
“I spent 12 months as consultant for Healds Hall Hotel & Bertie’s Banqueting, only to realise that I needed to be at the stove, that’s what I enjoyed. Running round like a nutter on a busy Saturday night, tempers fraying, expletives thrown, pressure on - that’s what I needed! I got involved with La Cachette as Head Chef initially, but spent the next few years working towards buying my own place again, which I achieved last year. I now own and run La Cachette Restaurant & Bistro in Elland, along with my business partner, Robert Chamberlain. We are a very successful restaurant and have achieved many accolades for our food and wine. I am continuously striving to improve.”
Photograph supplied by Jonathan Nichols