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Meet Guy Owen of The Idle Rocks

Published on November 16, 2017
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After working at Michelin starred restaurants around London, Guy returned to his native Cornwall and became head chef at stylish foodie hotel The Idle Rocks in St Mawes. He chewed the fat with Rosanna Rothery

Guy Owen

Salty or sweet?

Salty, every time. I know that may come as a surprise with my slightly disproportionate body, but I’m not a great fan of sweet things.

Early food memory?

I spent a lot of time fly fishing with my grandfather and was fortunate enough to have a mother who cooked professionally. She taught me how to poach and bake my own fish. Poached trout with salad cream, cucumber slices, lettuce and buttered brown bread is still one of my all-time favourite dishes.

Where do you like to eat out?

As I’ve recently become a father, I generally want to visit somewhere I can spend time with my family. It doesn’t have to be fancy; the food just needs to be properly cared for – though that’s actually quite hard to find. Simon and Victoria Radcliffe pull off a very relaxed atmosphere with great tasting food at The Fox’s Revenge in Summercourt and The Thomas Daniell in Truro.

Feeling inspired by?

Different chefs inspire me for different reasons. Mitch Tonks has a deft touch with food and lets it sing in the most simple way and his cooking is delicious. Very much like Nathan Outlaw really, who has an amazing appreciation for the best quality ingredients. But then in the same breath, I look at what Matt Abé is doing at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and it just blows me away. Oh, and also his wife Sally Abé at The Harwood Arms.

Where is your creativity taking you?

I’m not really sure. As long as we continue to develop what we do and make sure we never lose sight of who we are cooking for (ie the guests), then it could take us anywhere. I’m enjoying Asian and Moroccan styles of cooking currently: I think they really connect well with the sea.

Wish you’d known ten years ago?

Not to be so consumed by wanting to earn a lot of money and getting to a head chef role ASAP. I see a lot of young men as head chefs these days and they just don’t last. It’s a difficult job to get right, but it’s so worth it in the long run.

Fave pub?

Pub? I’m a chef, I wouldn’t dream of going to the pub! On a serious note, I really like the Polgooth Inn. It has relaxed acoustic live music, excellent beer, great wine, simple food and an amazing atmosphere. It’s also been our family local for many years. Alex and Tanya have absolutely nailed it there.

Like to have supper with?

I know this sounds soppy, but it would be the majority of my nearest friends and family, with a few optional extras thrown in: Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Ferran Adrià, Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins. That would be a crazy evening.

Favourite weekend breakfast?

Sunday mornings should generally involve eggs in some way. Poached or scrambled is how I like them, but I generally crave the lure of a fried egg. Just eggs on toast with a bit of tomato ketchup is all I need, plus a tall glass of good orange juice and the lifeblood of most chefs – coffee.

On the up?

Simplicity! It becomes increasingly evident that simplicity is the course food is taking.

Also try

Liz Wilton of The Good Food Stores runs two small farm shops in north Devon


We were so seduced by the rich crust and yielding chew of Guy Owen's sourdough that we locked him in the larder until he agreed to share his recipe