In a time of industry uncertainty, Gather’s fresh-out-of-college kitchen team are reason to be optimistic about the future of fine dining, says Kathryn Lewis
While the South West food scene is inarguably better than ever, chefs and restaurateurs are increasingly concerned about the dearth of young talent coming into the business.
So when Exeter College graduates Harrison Brockington, Declan Wiles and Oli Rosier reconvened after a year working in the industry and announced their plans to open a restaurant together, it was seen by some as a promising sign that a career in the kitchen still holds appeal for ambitious young people.
The trio have a combined age of just 64 (yes, you read that correctly) and their peppy attitude and confident cooking have brought a blast of fresh air to the Totnes dining scene since Gather opened in April.
VISIT for a new perspective on hyper-local dining. In line with Gen Z’s climate consciousness, head chef Harrison has gone the extra mile to ensure the menus not only reflect but also support the surrounding coast and countryside.
The seasonal line-up adapts and evolves daily, depending on the variety of vegetables delivered from a cooperative which sources from local allotments.
Thanks to the restaurant’s proximity to the coast, the menus lean towards fish and seafood. And while much of it is sourced from Brixham market, the guys have also sought out innovative suppliers such as SCOFF UK which recycles water from its rainbow trout fishery to grow herbs (find them used as a garnish on the trout mi-cuit starter).
A well-curated wine list gives further kudos to local producers: bottles from both Lyme Bay and Sharpham feature on the wine-matched tasting menu.
DON’T VISIT without a reservation. This is an intimate restaurant slap bang in the centre of sociable Totnes: chancing a table without a booking is risky business.
WE LIKED, scratch that, we LOVED the roasted monkfish main: a bronzed fillet of meaty fish crowning a rich and buttery cassoulet of haricot beans laced with lemon and River Exe mussels, finished with a dusting of seaweed-infused persillade.
If this is the future of fine dining, count us in.