The Pyne Arms‘ chef patron reveals his post-service guilty food pleasure and the cookbooks he can’t put down
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
Probably my Thermomix; I work alone in the kitchen at Pyne Arms so it’s an essential bit of kit. I use it for everything – from slow cooking to making yogurt.
What do you listen to in the kitchen?
I’m a big fan of punk but if I put that on I wouldn’t get anything done as I’d be constantly choosing tracks. I usually just listen to the radio, something like Radio Exe, for a bit of background noise.
Highlight of your career to date?
Winning Best Dining Pub at the Trencherman’s Awards 2019. It had always been a dream to be in the guide, so to win an award during our fi rst year in the book was amazing. The ceremony was at Saunton Sands Hotel and we took the celebrations back to the pub, which went on well into the early hours.
Biggest kitchen fail?
I can’t think of a specific example but there have been plenty of dishes that haven’t worked out. In this game it’s constant trial and error: you think, This dish will be brilliant, but when you come to do it in service it often doesn’t make the cut.
Most-read recipe book?
Either Sat Bains or White Heat by Marco Pierre White; I use them both constantly. I love Marco’s lemon tart recipe – it’s a beautiful dish and something we’ve riffed on at Pyne Arms.
Favourite place to eat out?
Best staycation spot?
Boringdon Hall in Plymouth. I love what Scott Paton is doing in the kitchen – and the spa is lovely.
Guilty food pleasure?
I’m not going to lie, I love a Big Mac – I had one last night. After I’ve finished a 17-hour shift and can’t be bothered to go upstairs and cook, I’ll drive to Barnstaple and visit the golden arches.
Desert island meal?
I used to live in the Caribbean so I’d have the kind of food I ate there: fish cakes followed by grilled flying fish with rice. I’m not a big fan of desserts but I’d go for my wife Aimee’s assiette of chocolate.