To the delight of many, STORE in South Norfolk earned the area’s first Michelin Star in April. Under the vision and management of Head Chef Liam Nichols, STORE is a two-chef team making one of the tastiest tasting menus in Norfolk. Samantha Mattocks headed along to Stoke Mill, home to STORE, to chat to Liam about a game-changing moment for his career.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Liam grins at me as he preps for that night’s service. “You only get invited to the Michelin event the week before, and you don’t know what you are being invited for. It could have been Young Chef of the Year, it could have been a star – you just don’t know!”
Liam opened STORE in the ‘back room’ of Stoke Mill in Stoke Holy Cross in December 2020, originally supported by friends and family, before lockdown happened. STORE officially opened in May 2021 and, to have earned a star within two years is nothing short of amazing for this 31-year-old chef.
“I would say my style is rustic-refined,” laughs Liam. “I just love putting big flavours together in a different way – such as my potato dish, where I bake new potatoes in butter for several hours. But one thing I will always care about is the quality of the ingredients I use. For example, I will only use hand dived scallops as they are far better for the environment – not to mention, they taste so much better!”
Liam runs STORE with his sous chef, Hazel Yuill, who left a career in nursing to become an apprentice, and both were there to enjoy the night as the stars were announced. “It was so cool that my previous bosses – Sat Baines, Daniel Clifford, and Tom Kerridge – were all there, and they met me coming off the stage,” says Liam.
“To put South Norfolk on the map is fantastic, and it was great to be there with Greg, Galton, and Kevin [from Meadowsweet, Morston Hall, and The Neptune] on the night. To have four stars in Norfolk is brilliant!
“I will confess, I never set out to win a star. I just wanted to make STORE a success. Now, off the back of that night, we are taking bookings for September in May, which is incredible!”
Liam owns STORE with Stoke Mill owners Andy Rudd and Ludo Iaccarino, and the whole team went to XO Kitchen in Norwich to celebrate.
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us,” said Liam. “We are so lucky to have had so many amazing people behind us. I am excited about the future, and to sharing the food that we love with our guests. Come and see us soon!”
• Find out more, and book your table, at stokemillstore.co.uk
• Liam shares with us his recipe for a rather decadent tartiflette with rib of beef – don’t forget, if you make this dish to share your photos with us #eatnourishdrink!