Dodds’ Gift

May 1, 2002

Attitude, ability, commitment, drive – these are just some of the factors other top chefs mention among the list of reasons why Warrick Dodds is a rising star.

As the unanimous choice of the judges for the title of 1999 American Express Young Chef of the Year, it was clear that Warrick Dodds was going places. And just three months later, he made his mark when, still aged only 23, he became head chef in Nigel Haworth’s one-Michelin-starred kitchen at Northcote Manor.

Dodds – now 26 years old and a 2002 Acorn Award winner

Paul Heathcote remembers him well. “Warrick is an extremely talented cook; it’s a talent he was born with,” he says. “When he was about 16 and working as a commis in a Blackpool restaurant, he would drive over to the restaurant at Longridge after his shift had finished and ask if there was anything he could do. Warrick’s brother, Lawrence, was working here at the time under Max Gnoyke, who was head chef, and they’d give him all sorts of jobs – including cleaning windows – and he’d do it. There were no vacancies in the brigade but he wanted to make sure he was in position when one occurred.”

Dodds was offered a position in Gnoyke’s brigade at Paul Heathcotes restaurant in Longridge. “I learnt most of what I know there,” Dodds says. “I started on bread and canap├ęs and worked my way up to running the fish, pastry and larder sections.”

Heathcote himself recognised Dodds’ talent and saw him flourish under Gnoyke. “Max ran a hard kitchen, and some chefs today would benefit from some of the tough training Warrick had there,” he says.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career so far? Nigel [Haworth] has been a very big influence on my cooking, in respect of finishing techniques and getting things perfect. Max Gnoyke and Steve Williams really drove various disciplines and organisation into me. If they hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

« Back to News