From London of the Swinging Sixties to the heights of Caribbean luxury, restaurateur, exponent of Chinese cuisine, wine connoisseur, sailor, pilot, international polo commentator, bon-viveur and, above all, free-spirited entrepreneur, Nick Hudson is the unstoppable force of nature behind dazzling new autobiography Mister Nick.
Born in 1938 to a long line of seafarers, his ambitions were clear-cut and simple: go to sea and become an accomplished bachelor. Fate was not so amenable, however.
After a commission in the Royal Marines and a go at medicine, he became a partner in Nick’s Diner – icon of 1960s restaurants – as featured in Joseph Losey’s The Servant, starring James Fox and Dirk Bogarde.
Committed to trans-Atlantic sailing with Robin Knox-Johnston, Nick jumped ship – without letting him know. All because he fell in love with a beautiful old house in Barbados, which he turned into the island’s most glamorous restaurant – The Bagatelle.
And talking of falling in love… a series of very glamorous girls featured prominently throughout. The great, the good and the not-so-good beat a path to his restaurant over the years, from Joanna Lumley to Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe (who got stuck in a chair), the Beatles, Nureyev, Oliver Messel, the Kidd family, Michael Winner (of course), and the last Ranee of Sarawak.
The sea, always a siren call for Nick, was never far away and eventually he bought and restored his own beautiful wooden yacht, Spirit of Carib. Another Barbadian restaurant followed – the Cage aux Folles – equally successful and popular amongst the glitterati. And always the beautiful women… until he re-discovered his childhood sweetheart, whom he promptly married.
So where is Mister Nick now? In 1998 he and Veronica moved to south-west France, where he set up a local association to offer disadvantaged children from Belarus holidays away from the contamination and poverty that widely prevails there following the nuclear disaster in nearby Chernobyl. A couple of years ago he took up Mandarin. When at home in France he is busy writing and when he gets away often it is to commentate on international high goal polo matches. By happy coincidence both he and Veronica will be publishing their first books in the same year.