Back in 1983 two young chefs would peel potatoes at the renowned Michelin starred hotel and country house hotel Sharrow Bay on the shores of lake Ullswater. Both chefs were ambitious to move up the catering ladder and two years later both would leave to form their own career paths.
Paul Heathcote headed to the Michelin starred Connaught in London and later Raymond Blancs two star Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Oxford before taking his first head chefs role at the privately owned Broughton Park.
Gary Bates joined the team at Michelin starred Poole Court and his family’s hotel before their paths crossed again at Broughton Park.
Impressed with Gary’s organisational skills, his ability to organise large numbers and his undoubted culinary skills he was headhunted by the General Manger, David Beswick to move with him to Edinburgh to oversee the refurbishment and extension and expansion of the Dalmahoy hotel & country club, the home to The Scottish Open and Solheim Cup.
After three years Paul Heathcote opened his first of fourteen restaurants, achieving one and then two Michelin stars in his first four years. To this date, he is still the only North West chef to achieve this accolade. Many other honours followed, including Chef of the Year, three Catey awards, many TV appearances and two successful books, one co-written with Matthew Fort now judge of TVs highly popular Great British Menu.
Paul and Gary remained friends and in 1997 formed Heathcotes Outside, catering mainly for restaurant clients who wished to have the Heathcote quality & styling in a venue of their choice, for private events, both at home and in the corporate market place.
A year later their first large scale contract ensued at Preston North End, quickly followed by Warrington Wolves new stadium development, Chester Racecourse, Bangor Racecourse, Liverpool Summer Pops, Liverpool Football Club, ACC Liverpool and Manchester International Festival.
Their undoubted skills, passion for produce, food and service and doing things a little differently, irrespective of event size made ‘Heathcotes Outside’ the caterer of choice for an impressive and enviable list of clients.
Companies including Armani, Boodles, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Audi UK, Marketing Manchester (MIPIM Cannes) Manchester Airport, Co-op (Annual Conference Belfast) alongside personal clients such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Paul McCartney and SirTerry Wogan. The team were privileged to cater for 2165 guests at Sir Alex Ferguson’s testimonial dinner, Sir Paul McCartney’s home coming event in Liverpool and Sir Terry Wogan’s daughter’s wedding breakfast in a marquee at his home, all of whom trusted the team to make their events unreservedly special.
In 2007 Heathcotes merged with Lindley Catering taking a £20 million turnover business to £60 million overnight. Both Gary and Paul stayed with the company, Gary as creative director and Paul as a board member before the company was sold allowing the two to re-join as the newly formed Heathcote&Co in 2013.
They both now work on events, projects and contracts that they passionately believe they can improve and make a difference to.