After successful careers working around the world in top restaurants and hotels, Tim and Emma Ford decided to open their own place in 2000. Fourteen years on, Little Barwick House near Yeovil is a hugely acclaimed restaurant with rooms, holding three AA rosettes for the entire time. Tim gave food Insider’s Guide the lowdown
Salty or sweet?
Early food memory?
I left home at 15 and was living in a flat with very little money, so I lived off cauliflower cheese. The farm down the road grew cauliflowers and you could take them and just leave a few pence, so it was the cheapest thing I could buy.
Like to eat out?
Our favourite place to eat out is Gidleigh Park. We don’t get out much but we’ll always make time for Gidleigh.
Feeling inspired by?
We try to follow the seasons as closely as possible and I’m always attracted by vibrant colours and flavours.
Wish you’d known ten years ago?
I thought as you got older, it got easier, but that’s not the case! I imagined I’d be able to step back a bit by now, but the reality with a place like this is that people like to see you cooking.
Most challenging time in your career?
Before we opened here we were very settled with good jobs and salaries and a young family. Making the decision to take on a big building was a gamble.
We just don’t go out! We work, and when we get a day off, we do a bit of gardening then crash at home with a glass of wine.
Favourite way to cook?
I cook to order, which means there is always a lot of pressure on you, and I guess that’s what I enjoy – I’m a bit of a masochist.
Like to have supper with?
Valentino Rossi the Moto GP star. He’s Italian, so is probably a bit of a foodie too.
Favourite weekend breakfast?
Scrambled egg with a lot of tea.
On the up?
Dining is getting more relaxed. The food has to be good but the experience more laid back, which is great as it’s what we do here. It’s the cooking that’s very traditional in style: I’d describe it as classic with a modern twist – as waterbaths and foams are not really my thing.