In Cornwall, there’s always been an inherent respect for the land and the sea, which I think has come to the fore in recent times. Historically, the Cornish have had great food because of the wonderful meat, seafood and vegetables they have access to. Add to this the fact that people are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about their food and the issues surrounding it, and Cornwall has become a natural centre for the food and hospitality industry.
We’re lucky here. We have a long coastline, lush pastures, lots of rain! The weather is generally mild and the micro-climate lends itself to growing. Off the Cornish coast we also have the best seafood available anywhere in the world, and it can be delivered into restaurants very quickly. Most importantly, our fishermen, growers and producers have a real passion for what they do, often having a family history of fishing or farming that stretches back generations. They do it because they love it, because they’re proud of it and want to be able to offer the very best available. I’ve yet to meet one here who isn’t keen to share what they’ve caught, grown or produced.
In short, the future for food in Cornwall is a bright one. People know that Cornwall is a centre of excellence for food. They want to experience that, along with the other things that Cornwall can offer, such as the coastline, moorland walks and a less hectic life. For my part, I aim to offer the very best food available, along with outstanding hospitality, and I think Cornwall is the ideal place to do that, which is why my wife Rachel and I have just bought a nine-bedroom guesthouse in Port Isaac. It’s the natural step to take, and it means we can provide a complete experience for guests to escape to Cornwall, to sample the very best seafood along with a comfortable place in which to hang their hat.
But the future, as it always does, depends on the next generation, and when people ask me why potential young chefs and restaurateurs should consider a future in the industry down here, I say ‘why not?’. Anybody who wants to work with the best ingredients available in beautiful surroundings should be desperate to get here! Okay, some places are a little out of the way and we haven’t got the bright lights of the big cities, but the experience they can gain here is second to none. There are lots of high-calibre chefs working in Cornwall now for young chefs to learn from, and they will also get the opportunity to see where their ingredients come from and how they arrive in the kitchen. There’s plenty of scope for young chefs to progress in the industry, too, and with days off tending to be spent on the beach, what’s not to like?