The Bear and Blacksmith’s chef patron reveals why we should be fussing over food miles not fancy foams
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
It’s a toss-up between my Thermomix and commercial oven. The Thermomix is a clever bit of kit and like having another chef by my side. The oven allows me to cook consistently which is key in a busy kitchen.
What’s your earliest food memory?
When I was about 15, I worked for a chap called Les at The Sea Shanty in Torcross. The restaurant was known for its fish and chips, but after service Les would experiment and make these amazing steamed half shell scallops with ginger and chilli. I still use his recipe at the pub today.
Where do you like to eat out?
If I want a proper pub meal, I’ll go to The Fortescue Inn at Salcombe for the flat iron steak or the homemade lamb burger with chorizo and goat’s cheese. If we’re celebrating, it’s got to be Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers in Kingsbridge. Jamie changes the menu constantly: on my last visit I had the rump of lamb with a beautiful jus and amazing champ potato – the flavours were phenomenal.
Like to have supper with?
I’d love to sit down with Tom Kerridge: I think he’d be a right laugh. I’d have my mum there too. I reckon we’d have a great evening over a bottle of wine and some good food.
Wish you’d known 10 years ago?
I wish I’d gone to catering college so that, when I was starting out, I could have been more confident in my abilities and ideas. Although there’s something to be said for teaching yourself skills and learning from talented chefs.
What food trend would you rather forget?
I’m not a foams and gels kind of chef. I’m all for putting your own twist on things but deconstructing a dish? Why bother. My ethos at The Bear and Blacksmith is good food, cooked well and decently priced.
Pet hates when eating out?
Poor service. The food could be incredible but if the service is lacking and there’s no warm welcome, I won’t go back.
What’s hot at the moment?
Traceability, locality and food miles. It’s an ethos which drives everything we do at the pub.
We grow all of our veg in the garden which the chefs pick each morning. We rear all of the meat – except the beef but we’re working on that – too, then butcher it ourselves. It makes sense to work like this as cutting out the middle man allows us to serve our customers top quality produce without the hefty price tag.