13th October 2022


Sit Down With Natalie Coleman

13th October 2022

It has been a very busy few weeks for Natalie Coleman. After collaborating with fellow MasterChef winner Jane Devonshire in a pop-up event ‘Battle of the Chefs’ at the Oyster Shed, she then went on to win the prestigious Pub Chef of the Year award at the Great British Pub Awards. We managed to sit down with her in London Bridge and catch up:

Hi Natalie, so good to see you! What a whirlwind few weeks for you! How are you feeling after the win?

“It was really good! It’s been a chaotic two weeks as we have been really busy with all different things going on. But the pop-up was great, it was really good, it was like an honest bit of rivalry, but it’s more fun than anything, but it was nice having someone else in and was exciting for the guys in the kitchen, they really enjoyed it because we don’t always do those sort of dishes every day, and it was good getting feedback as now one of them is going to go on the à la carte. The Monkfish dish, I was thinking about putting it on, but then chefs said you’ve got to put it on!”

Since winning MasterChef you’ve done so much within your cooking career; You’ve worked with some of the best chefs in world, hosted private dinner parties and catered for small and large events all around the country. Having been at the helm of the Oyster Shed for over a year now, how does this experience compare to all of that?

“You know what, when I saw the job advertised, I saw that it was really fish focused, and its right on the river and next to borough market, which was a big part of my story while on MasterChef because I used to go down there all the time to get my ingredients. So, I came into the interview and there was like 20 million people in the interview, it was really crazy! We did a cook off and I thought, ooh I quite like this! And as I walked out the sun was belting down, as it was in the summer, and I could hear the waves crashing in on London Bridge and I thought this is definitely the one. And then I started two weeks after Mariya [The General Manager at the Oyster Shed] started, and she is just lovely, you couldn’t ask for a better boss! She is so supportive and always problem solves.

There where a lot of change from when I started with the food and the kitchen, it was a difficult time. And then January came and Covid…. But then we were able to really focus on the quality of the food and the menus and go straight bang into summer and did some record weeks of food! We started focusing on selling more oysters as when I first started, we only had one type and sometimes it wasn’t even on the menu! And now we have a range of 12 oysters, all from the UK, we’re a big champion of British seafood. During the winter this is reduced to 6, but during the summer we have a larger menu and it’s really good, and now we are working with our new fish supplier who I’ve wanted to work with here, sky’s the limit with the menu now”

With the menu, the Oyster Shed has such an amazing one! Where do you look for inspiration for your menu, how do you normally come up with ideas for your dishes?

“Matt and Matteo [our Executive Chefs at Young’s] send through some suggestions, and then we really like to focus on what’s in season really, and just sort of play around from there. I  try and make it fish led, and instead of just doing a veggie option we do a Vegan one. We don’t have so much meat, the burger and the steak. Oh! And we’re going to add a pie, I’m going to make a beef and kidney pie, it’s one that my Grandad used to make.”

Christmas is a very busy and exciting time for Young’s, how are you and your team feeling in the run up?

“We are looking forward to it as it’s going to be really busy, no sort of downtime, like last Christmas was crazy as you’re coming into a new place and juggling with the staff and trying to get in and trying to change everything at once, but no we are more settled. But yes I know, it’s going to be really crazy busy!

I’ve already had Christmas music on the other week because we did the Christmas showcase.  So, because we were doing the Christmas menu, we had to put the Christmas songs on, there was only one grinch in the kitchen, but she came round in the end!”

What are your plans going forward for the Oyster shed, have you started thinking about the next menu?

“Next year, obviously, we want to go for more awards. We want to make it more of a restaurant upstairs and a pub downstairs while introducing more classic pub snacks and things like that! And, also, with all the classic dishes we have make them more nostalgic. So, with the pie do things that your grandad would want to eat, as we still see a lot of older customers coming in to the pub. We have also just launched the Sunday roast with the special sides that are just for Sundays.

So, building on your success as the Best Pub Chef of the Year!  Sound’s great saying that out loud!

“I know! As it was such good competition as well, one of the other guys in the competition, Dave, is the Chef at the Unruly Pig, which is in the top 10 Estrella Gastropubs, and to beat someone like him was just a bit shocking really!”

You can try some of Natalie’s cooking at the Oyster Shed, Located just 5 minutes from London Bridge.

Or join them for their upcoming Thanksgiving event on the 24th on November can be found below:


Your enquiry has been successfully sent and our team will be back in touch with you soon to confirm your booking.

If you need to speak to speak to us sooner, give us a call on and a member of the team will be happy to help.