Entrepreneur returns to transform his hometown
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A catering giant has left his thriving London life to invest in the future of his hometown.
Businessman Nathan Jones bought the Fisher's Hotel in Pakefield, planning to transform it into a 4* holiday haven and a platform for local business talent.
The successful caterer started his career in Pakefield, making chips for his father's fish shop 'Mr Cod Piece'.
His determination to work in hospitality was sparked watching his uncle, a chef at a 5* hotel in Paris, make an omelette.
At 16 he enrolled at Lowestoft College to study hotel and food service management, washing dishes at local restaurants to pay his way.
Just after his 20th birthday the ambitious young foodie moved to London, where he would later co-found his multimillion pound catering company, Harbour & Jones.
But after 30 years in the 'pressurised' industry, Mr Jones, who's mum and sister still live in Lowestoft, said he felt he had 'been away too long'.
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Now he hopes to use his wealth of contacts and experience to help young people in Lowestoft start careers in hospitality.
He said: 'Hospitality is one of the few industries that you don't need to be particularly academic in. If you have the right personality and the right 'can-do' attitude all you need is to be given a chance.'
Mr Jones is hoping to offer training placements for students at East Coast College.
He added: 'I was lucky enough to be given the chance at a young age. We could do a similar thing for the students at the college today.'
The hotelier said using local branding and food suppliers was also a priority.
Although the newly bought hotel has already attracted interest from potential customers, its new owner has stressed there is still a long way to go before it will be open to the public.
He said: 'We have exciting plans still to be unveiled including the new name. There is a lot of work to do on the interior, including building disabled toilets. We are hoping to be ready by spring.'