Goodbye to the nicest man
I can't remember when I first met Nigel, however the place is not in doubt, it was The Ivy. I started in 1997 and between then and 2006 when I left, was honoured to work with some of the greatest hospitality professionals I have ever met. Nigel Stowe was quite simply the nicest, kindest and most empathetic of all of us. He came from a media background, in his mid twenties, making a career change to start on the first rung of the hospitality front of house ladder, commis waiter.
This position entailed bussing tables and running metre-long trays laden with four main courses and sides stacked on top of each other, from the basement kitchen to the main dining room at the top of a steep, curved staircase. Nigel, wasn't the largest of men, but his stature had nothing compared to his determination.
He rose through the ranks and worked in some of London's great restaurants and members clubs. Every time I saw him he made me smile. It was the good natured aura that surrounded him, I am not suggesting a halo here, but my God did he try to help everyone if he could.
Our last meeting was at our mentor Mitch's memorial at Joe Allen in January 2020. He came all the way from his home in Rutland, to spend a couple of hours reminiscing and telling tales to his former colleagues and customers, selfless as always.
Dear Nigel, when I get to join you, I cannot wait for the hug and that smile of yours, cheeky and full of joy.