Soar Mill Cove‘s head chef reveals why you won’t find him snapping pictures at the table and why he’s moving away from complicated cookery
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
My knives. About five years ago I switched to a set of Robert Welch knives. They’re ergonomic and beautifully made and I use them for just about everything.
What’s your earliest cooking memory?
I started working as a KP in the kitchen at a country house in North Wales at the age of 13. I remember watching the food being prepared and tasting exotic ingredients that I hadn’t come across before, such as scallops and oysters.
Where do you like to eat out?
I have three young children, so local and family friendly are my priorities. We’re spoilt for choice here in the South Hams so I like to try somewhere different every time.
Like to have supper with?
It would have to be with my heroes: Geoffrey Boycott, George Best, Mick Jagger and Keith Floyd. Or perhaps a historical political figure: someone with plenty of interesting things to say so that I could sit back and listen.
Wish you’d known 10 years ago?
Shouting doesn’t make a difference in the kitchen; it just raises my blood pressure. I use a bit of sarcasm but find that a calm kitchen works much better than a frantic one.
Which food trend would you rather forget?
Food served on anything other than a plate. Breakfast on a shovel? No thanks. And having to construct food at the table such as a deconstructed crumble. If you’re going to have apple crumble, have apple crumble.
Pet hates when eating out?
Mobile phones and the obsession with posting food photos on social media – the food’s going cold while they’re checking for likes. You see it everywhere. The occasional picture’s fine but some people do it all the time.
What’s hot at the moment?
More cleanly-designed dishes and a move away from overly complicated cooking in favour of more traditional methods. It’s less about theatre (when you often finish the meal feeling hungry). At Soar Mill Cove we serve what we like to eat – that’s always been our philosophy.