GBPA 2022

Meet the winner: Best Pub Chef sponsored by Booker/Makro – Natalie Coleman, the Oyster Shed, City of London

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Food for thought: the dish Natalie created at the cook off impressed judges with its flavour, balance and commerciality of the meal
Food for thought: the dish Natalie created at the cook off impressed judges with its flavour, balance and commerciality of the meal

Related tags Events Great british pub awards Chef Food London

The standard of pub food continues to rise across the sector and to take home the title of Pub Chef of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards is no mean feat.

Natalie Coleman is no stranger to winning, having, as an amateur home cook taken the title of Mastchef of the Year in 2013. Now she can add Pub Chef of the Year 2022 to her accolades and she was both shocked and delighted.

“I was shaking with shock on the night of the awards as I was up against some very strong competition and the other finalist's dishes all sounded incredible,” she said.

“Winning the competition has given me a huge boost in confidence, as it's my first award as a proper chef.  When I won MasterChef​ in 2013, it was for the amateur series and I was still a home cook, so to win an award that is for professional chefs in some of the best pubs in the UK is beyond belief and such an honour.”

Strong contenders

Natalie was up against five other top UK chefs, including Dave Wall, from the number one gastropub of the year, the Unruly Pig, Richard Crouch of the Angel at Watlington, Ayesha Kalaji, the Queen of Cups, Sean Jeffers, of the Red Lion, Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, and Ian Moss of the Coach and Horses in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire.

In a tense cook off with the other chefs, using a mystery box of ingredients, Coleman wowed the judges with her dish of chargrilled pork chop, with white bean stew, charred broccoli and salsa verde.

Judges praised the dish for its flavour and balance, alongside the commerciality of the product which they said would fly off the bar or menu of any good pub.

Creative freedom

Natalie added: “When I won MasterChef​, I always said I would like to own my own gastropub one day, as I love the relaxed feel of them rather than a white clothed restaurant.

“Pubs definitely suit my personality more and are more inclusive of the public and families. I am very family orientated and in the future, I would love to create a family run business that feels like a home from home and welcomes all walks of life and serving up good British food with a twist using the best suppliers locally.”

Natalie is currently working as head chef of the Oyster Shed, a Youngs’ pub located on the river near London Bridge. The pub specialises in fish and seafood dishes, which fits well with her favourite hobby of fishing.

“I have been at The Oyster Shed coming up for a year now and have loved transforming the menu's working alongside some of the best suppliers in the UK. I am very blessed that our management team "Mariya, Tom and Matt" give me a lot of support and creative freedom when it comes to the conceptualisation of our seasonal menus," she said.

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