Nick Nairn describes 60-second escape before Stirlingshire restaurant ‘explosion’

Nick Nairn has described the dramatic 60-second escape from his Stirlingshire restaurant before it “exploded”.

More than 30 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at Nick’s on Henderson Street in Bridge of Allan on Saturday after a piece of kitchen equipment malfunctioned.

Pictures on social media showed smoke and flames pouring from the building in the town near Stirling.

The celebrity chef has since estimated the restaurant will remain closed for at least nine months, with a “long road” ahead due to a “complicated” insurance claim.


READ MORE: ‘We’ll be back’ Nick Nairn thanks public after outpouring of support following fire at restaurant

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime with John Beattie, Nairn said the restaurant “will be back”, but underpinned just how serious the incident was.

He told the programme: “A piece of kit had malfunctioned right in the middle of service and boiled over.

“The guys did their best to contain it but they lost control of it.

“Luckily they thought quickly – they turned off the gas and ventilation, got everybody out in I think less than 60 seconds and then the place just exploded.

“This is going to be a long haul – perhaps six to nine months but we are going to come back bigger, better and stronger.”

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation following the incident and the last appliance left the incident at 3.30am on Sunday.

Nairn, 62, became Scotland’s youngest chef to win a Michelin star in 1991 and has appeared on television shows including Ready Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu.

He later told the programme how the “perfect storm” of Brexit, Covid and people leaving and not being able to return have caused difficulties for the hospitality sector.

He added that he has been cooking for the last four months to compensate for the lack of available chefs.


READ MORE: Crews respond to fire at Nick Nairn restaurant in Bridge of Allan

He told the BBC: “The chef market at the moment is absolutely insane.

“Chefs have been on furlough for a year and experienced real life – Saturday night off, spending time with the kids, not being in a hot, sweaty box for 50 hours a week.

“There’s been this massive increase in online deliveries, loads of jobs going for drivers, supermarkets have boomed during lockdown and they pay good wages.

“It’s almost a perfect storm of Brexit, people leaving and not being able to come back again and Covid.”

He added that his businesses are also being hit by the effects of no-show customers – with one “horrendous” night having 58 bookings turn up across three venues.

He said: “I calculated that was our profit for the evening.

“It’s got slightly better for us since then and the last thing we want to do is go down the route of taking deposits.

“We just don’t have the admin for a start – it costs a lot of money to do that and I hate the fact that you’re doubting people.

“It has eased a bit but I’m speaking to other people who are saying ‘no, it’s just as bad and you’ve just been lucky’.

“It is the most bonkers time to be in hospitality, I’ve been at this for 36 years and I cannot remember anything like this.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992