Nigel Platts-Martin

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Nigel Platts-Martin
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Alma mater
  • University of Oxford
  • The King's School, Canterbury
  • Restaurateur
  • Wine expert

Nigel Platts-Martin (born in Germany) is a British restaurateur and wine expert. Notoriously, Platts-Martin co-owned a Michelin star restaurant Harveys (restaurant) with its own chef patron Marco Pierre White from 1987 to 1993. He also co-owned another Michelin-starred restaurant The Square (restaurant) with its own chef patron Phil Howard from 1991 to 2016, the same year when Platts-Martin and Howard sold The Square. Platts-Martin currently co-owns other Michelin-starred restaurants Chez Bruce, The Ledbury, La Trompette, and The Glasshouse.

Early life and education

Nigel Platts-Martin was born in Germany. His father was an Army officer. Platts-Martin attended The King's School, Canterbury and then the University of Oxford to study law.[1]

Early career

Platts-Martin worked for a law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and then S. G. Warburg & Co. until he quit the firm in 1987.

Partnership with Marco Pierre White

When he resided in Battersea, Platts-Martin dined one night at the restaurant Lampwick and met one of its chefs Marco Pierre White, whose cooking skills amazed Platts-Martin. Platts-Martin became Lampwick's regular customer since.

Platts-Martin and another Lampwick's regular Richard Carr bought a wine bar Harvey's, which originally served just burgers and was a couple miles away from Lampwick. Platts-Martin and Carr originally planned to appoint White's friend Alan Bennett, head chef of Lampwick, the head chef of the upcoming restaurant that would replace Harvey's, prompting Bennett to permanently close Lampwick in summer 1986. However, Bennett did not have enough money to buy shares, and Platts-Martin and Carr found White more qualified as the potential head chef. White did not have enough money for investments, so Carr as a guarantor loaned White , taken from a Sheffield branch of Yorkshire Bank, to make White one of shareholders and the chef patron.

The restaurant opened in January 1987 at Wandsworth Common with the apostrophe dropped, becoming Harveys (restaurant).[2][3] Under White as chef patron, Harveys earned its first Michelin star in January 1988 and then its second in January 1990.[4][5] Harveys had been critically successful but less profitable than anticipated.[1] White spent less time at Harveys and more at The Canteen, which opened in November 1992 without Platts-Martin.[3] In 1993, White sold his shares of Harveys to his business partners, including Platts-Martin, and left Harveys in July, allowing White to further achieve his ambitions.[1][6]

Partnership with Phil Howard

Platts-Martin and Marco Pierre White, while operating Harveys (restaurant), planned their upcoming second restaurant located at West End of London.[7] Phil Howard, a chef de partie of Harveys who was sacked nine months prior but then rehired in 1990 by White, was planned and trained to be appointed head chef of the upcoming venture.[7][8] Platts-Martin's partnership with White for the upcoming second restaurant fell through. Without White involved, Platts-Martin and Howard were left handling the project themselves, but both were at the time inexperienced in running a restaurant.

The restaurant venture opened on 13 December 1991 as The Square (restaurant), initially located at King Street, St James's. With Howard appointed head chef and then chef patron, The Square earned its first Michelin star in December 1994.[9] It relocated to Bruton Street, Mayfair on 17 February 1997 and then earned its second Michelin star in January 1998. After years of critical and commercial success, Platts-Martin and Howard sold The Square to Marlon Abela's restaurant group in March 2016 for .[10] Because Abela's restaurant group suffered from financial issues and mismanagement, property management administrators abruptly closed The Square during its lunch service in February 2020 for an indefinite amount of time.[11]

Platts-Martin also co-owns The Ledbury with Phil Howard. The Ledbury's chef patron has been Brett Graham, who worked at The Square (restaurant) from 2001 to 2005.[12][13] Howard has not operated The Ledbury as much as Platts-Martin has had. The Ledbury has been indefinitely closed since June 2020, citing social distancing Social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom as impractical for the restaurant.[14]

Partnership with Bruce Poole

Platts-Martin as co-owner opened Harveys's replacement site Chez Bruce at Wandsworth Common in February 1995 under its chef patron Bruce Poole, who previously worked at The Square (restaurant) in its original St James's location until January 1994 and then worked for twin brothers Marc and Max Renzland. Prior to the opening, Harveys was permanently closed for dining room refurbishment in six weeks since New Year's Eve 1994. Furthermore, Platts-Martin came up the name of the newer restaurant, and Poole reluctantly accepted it in order to promote himself.[15] Chez Bruce earned its first Michelin star in early 1999. Chez Bruce has been indefinitely closed amid COVID-19 pandemic since 18 March 2020.[16]

Platts-Martin and Poole also opened The Glasshouse at Kew in early 1999.[1] Anthony Boyd, who previously worked at Chez Bruce and then The Square, was appointed head chef on its debut. It earned its first Michelin star in 2002. Boyd left The Glasshouse in 2010 for a Hertfordshire restaurant.

Platts-Martin and Poole also opened La Trompette in Chiswick in late January 2001. Ollie Couillaud was appointed head chef on its debut. Couillaud left La Trompette in early 2005 to become the head chef of a Dorchester, Dorset restaurant in May 2005. James Bennington, a sous-chef of Chez Bruce, succeeded Couillaud as the head chef in that same year. In 2010, The Glasshouse's former head chef Anthony Boyd returned from Hertfordshire and replaced Bennington.[17] La Trompette was closed in January 2013 for wider building expansion. Rob Weston, after sixteen years as the head chef of The Square (restaurant) under chef patron Phil Howard, replaced Boyd amid reopening in late February 2013.[18] La Trompette has held one Michelin star since early 2010s.[18][19]

More about the restaurant group

In 2006, stocks of Platts-Martin's five remaining restaurants, including The Square, were worth, including numerous wines. About 45% of total sales of the restaurants generated from award-winning wine lists and accounts. The expansion of his restaurant group benefited from cash flow.[1]

Platts-Martin has operated his restaurant group at his home; the group has lacked a head office.[1]

Accolades and honour

Platts-Martin won the Independent Restaurateur of the Year at the 2004 Catey Awards.[20] He was appointed Order of the British Empire at the 2009 New Year Honours for serving the British hospitality industry.[21][22]

Out of top 100 most influential people in the UK hospitality industry, The Caterer ranked him 72nd in 2005,[23] 24nd in 2010,[24][25] 40th in 2011,[26] and 35th in 2012.[27]

Personal life

Platts-Martin married in late 1980s or early 1990s.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Nigel Platts-Martin: The quiet man?". The Caterer. 29 June 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  2. White 2006, p. 100.
  3. 3.0 3.1 White 2006, Ch. 17: "Not a Lot of People Know This" (eBook)
  4. Jennings, Luke (20 April 1998). "Bad Boy in the Kitchen". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 February 2021. Also appeared in print edition of 27 April 1998 issue.
  5. Buford, William (2006). "Line Cook". Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 95. ISBN 1-4000-4120-1. LCCN 2005057868. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |chapterurl= ignored (help)
  6. White 2006, Ch. 19: "Not a Lot of People Know This" (eBook)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Howard 2012, p. 12.
  8. "Philip Howard". The Caterer. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  9. Howard 2012, p. 13.
  10. Harmer, Janet (22 March 2016). "Philip Howard leaves the Square as restaurant is sold to Marlon Abela". The Caterer. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  11. Stagg, James (3 February 2020). "Michelin-starred the Square restaurant closed by administrators". The Caterer. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  12. Ryan, Rosemary (January 2010). "Brett Graham is guest at 2010 Appetite for Excellence awards". Hospitality. Glebe, Australia. ISSN 1328-021X. Document no. 929673077.
  13. "Just Opened – All the Latest Openings! (The Ledbury, London)". Caterer & Hotelkeeper. Vol. 194, no. 4373. 5–11 May 2005. p. 16. ISSN 0008-7777 – via ProQuest. Document no. 222790875.
  14. "Le Caprice and The Ledbury close amid criticism of 'impossible' social distancing rules". The Daily Telegraph. 15 June 2020. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 15 February 2021. Also accessible via ProQuest; document no. 2413273636.
  15. Poole 2011, "Life Before Chez Bruce" (eBook)
  16. Reda, Deborah (20 March 2020). "A rundown of all the London restaurants temporarily closed due to Coronavirus". SquareMeal. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  17. Kühn, Kerstin (5 August 2010). "Chef Anthony Boyd leaves the Clarendon after three months". The Caterer. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Kühn, Kerstin (14 February 2013). "Head chef Rob Weston leaves two-Michelin-starred the Square". The Caterer. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  19. "MICHELIN Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2019 Selection". Michelin Guide. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  20. Shrimpton, David (6 July 2004). "2004 Catey award winners unveiled". The Caterer. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  21. "New Year honours list: MBEs". The Guardian. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  22. "Hospitality figures in New Year Honours list". The Guardian. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  23. "Nigel Platts-Martin". The Caterer. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  24. " 100: Nigel Platts-Martin". The Caterer. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  25. " 100 – The most powerful people in hospitality". The Caterer. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  26. "Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Nigel Platts-Martin, The Square, The Ledbury, Chez Bruce". The Caterer. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  27. "Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Nigel Platts-Martin, the Square, the Ledbury, Chez Bruce". The Caterer. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2021.

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