Nico Ladenis

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Nico Ladenis
Born (1934-04-22) 22 April 1934 (age 84)
Spouse(s)Dinah-Jane Ladenis
Culinary career

Nico Ladenis (born 22 April 1934)[1] is a Tanganyikan-born chef of Greek descent, best known for his restaurants in the UK. He won three Michelin stars and his restaurant Chez Nico was rated ten out of ten by the Good Food Guide. In 1999, he handed back his stars due in part to prostate cancer and because of his disillusionment with the London restaurant scene.

Early life[edit]

Ladenis was born in Tanzania on 22 April 1934,[2][3] to Greek parents.[2] His family subsequently moved to Provence, France, before Ladenis moved to the UK.[4]


Ladenis is a self-taught chef, and did not attend any culinary schools. Whilst working at his restaurant Chez Nico in Dulwich, London in 1976 or 1977 he met fellow chef Michel Roux at a party, who arranged for him to work for a week at the three Michelin star Moulin de Mougins under Roger Vergé.[2]

In 1989, he opened a bistro-style restaurant in Pimlico, London, called Simply Nico.[5] In 1992, Ladenis opened a new restaurant inside the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, entitled "Nico at Ninety", and his former two Michelin star restaurant on Great Portland Street was converted into the bistro-style "Nico Central".[6] Nico at Ninety was subsequently renamed back to Chez Nico,[7] where in 1995 the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars.[8]

In 1999, he asked the Michelin reviewers to exclude him from the guide, and gave up his three Michelin stars in the process. He said in a press statement at the time that "Working in a three-star restaurant is very restrictive and people do not want to eat very expensive food. You cannot fool around in the restaurant if you have three stars and I want to make it more relaxed."[9] He later admitted that this was due in part from being disillusioned with the restaurant scene in London, but also because he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer the month before speaking to the Michelin reviewers.[10] He subsequently opened more restaurants: in 2000, Incognico opened on Shaftesbury Avenue;[11] in 2002, Deca opened on Conduit street.[12] He decided to step back from running restaurants in 2003, and retire fully from the business. His two daughters remained involved in both businesses.[13]

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Ladenis is married to Dinah-Jane Ladenis, with whom he has two daughters, Isabella and Natasha.[14]

Chez Nico, under Ladenis, remains one of only seven restaurants in the UK (as of the 2013 edition of the guide) to have received the maximum score of ten out of ten by the Good Food Guide.[15] He was the first self-taught chef to earn three Michelin stars.[16]

Published works[edit]

  • Ladenis, Nico; Crompton-Batt, Alan (1987). My Gastronomy. London: Ebury. ISBN 9780852236826.
  • Ladenis, Nico; Brigdale, Martin (1996). Nico. London: Macmillan. ISBN 9780333651773.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2014. Mr Nico Ladenis, restaurateur, 77
  2. ^ a b c Fox, Sue (20 October 1996). "How We Met". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Birthdays". The Independent. 22 April 1994. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Kirchenbaum, Grace (8 November 1990). "Reading Food : Cookbooks: A Fan's Notes". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  5. ^ Rose, Don (7 May 1989). "London dining goes far beyond those soggy old brussels sprouts". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Green, Emily (15 August 1992). "Reaching for three stars on Park Lane: Nico Ladenis has moved into the grand end of the market. Emily Green visited his old and new addresses". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  7. ^ Hadden, Mark (15 June 2006). "My Gastronomy, by Nico Ladenis". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  8. ^ Green, Emily (10 February 1995). "Two temperamental but great chefs". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Watson-Smyth, Kate (18 January 2000). "Only one Michelin three-star in Britain". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Bozec, Louise (13 March 2002). "Ladenis to open restaurants after beating cancer". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  11. ^ MacLeod, Tracey (1 July 2000). "This one will run and run". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Johnson, Richard (27 July 2002). "Classic faux pas". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  13. ^ Harris, David (12 March 2003). "Ladenis cuts ties with his London restaurants". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  14. ^ Green, Emily (14 May 1994). "A chef now at home in his kitchen". The Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  15. ^ Duffin, Claire (2 September 2012). "Simon Rogan equals Blumenthal's perfect 10 in 2013 restaurant guide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  16. ^ Rayner, Jay (21 July 2002). "Deca, London". The Observer. Retrieved 23 September 2012.