Lewtrenchard Manor‘s head chef ponders the future of dining and calls time on canapés as a course
What’s the one kitchen item you couldn’t live without?
It may sound sentimental but I couldn’t do the job without my team. Apart from them, I would have to say a Rational Oven – it does everything.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Being picked up from school by my grandad and taken to his house for spaghetti on toast. He was a chef in the army and he’s been my inspiration. Him and my nan, who taught me to bake.
Where do you like to eat out?
My local, the Castle Inn in Lydford. It serves simple, good quality food and is always full of people I know. I take my fiancée there so we can relax. I also love a cheeky Chinese takeaway.
Like to have supper with?
Massimo Bottura, chef patron of Osteria Francescana in Modena. The way he talks about food is so inspiring. And Sat Bains, I think he’d be a good laugh. I have to say my fiancée too or I’ll be in trouble.
Wish you’d known 10 years ago?
That I would be this deep into my career at this age [Tom is 26]. If I’d known I’d be where I am now I could have developed my skills a bit more beforehand. But I think I’ve done all right, so really I don’t think I’d change a thing.
Which food trend would you rather forget?
Pub chains that call themselves ‘gastro’. These are massive places churning out chips in shopping trolleys – that’s not fine dining.
Pet hates when eating out?
The evolution of the canapé. In some restaurants they’re now served as a course. If I ordered an 18 course tasting menu and knew that the first six courses were just going to be canapés, then I’d rather have these at the bar with a beer. They’re a snack, not a course.
What’s hot at the moment?
It’s not so much a food trend, but I think we’ll start to see diners eating out less and spending more when they do; nicer restaurants but less often. I think places need a unique selling point to attract diners. We’re lucky at Lewtrenchard because we have the location, the building and the grounds. It’s welcoming and that’s the experience we want to create – a home away from home.