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For the love of food

Words by Hannah Tapping

Things are getting fresh at a unique luxury deli in Falmouth.

For John and Rebecca Frankiss it was love at first sight. After meeting in the Middle East, where John worked in oil and gas and Rebecca was teaching, a proposal came within three weeks and three months later, the pair were married. It wasn’t just their love for each other that kept the bond strong, it was also their shared love of food. John is English, Rebecca Canadian and after they married, they were unsure as to where to settle. While Rebecca loved her roots, growing up by the ocean in Nova Scotia, the lack of strength of the Canadian dollar against the pound would mean settling there would be a decision for life. Instead, the couple decided on a very different path.

What followed is not a tale that you would normally associate with the opening of a pasty shop and deli in Cornwall, but it proves that they have the shared ambition and passion required to make it work. During a sabbatical from work, John and Rebecca bought a 60ft schooner and proceeded to sail it around the Atlantic. With two young daughters, a son and another on the way it was a way of life some can only dream of, but after being essentially ocean wanderers for three years the girls decided they wanted to go to school, and the couple wanted to build a wholesome base from which to raise their growing young family.

Their search for a land base first led them to Devon and Brixham Harbour. However, a lack of local schools saw them sail back to Falmouth, the port they had first departed from three years prior and a town they had returned to time and again, and that’s where they settled. Where better to do so than in a place that would bring together their cultures and love of the sea in a unique coastal region famed for its plethora of quality produce. The boat was sold and they purchased their first business, Oggies Cornish Kitchen. This fresh take on a traditional Cornish pasty shop feeds shoppers, students and seafarers with bakery treats. You can grab a pasty in a paper bag for on-the-go refuelling or stay awhile in café. While the pasty shop was, and is, extremely successful (and Rebecca confesses that there is nothing she doesn’t know now about the Duchy’s favourite snack), it wasn’t fuelling their gastronomic fire.

When the building next door became vacant, with a large outdoor terrace, it was an opportunity too good to miss, and so The Cornish Kitchen was born. It’s a modern-day multistore, mixing groceries, fresh produce, accompaniments, coffee, wine, beer and more, but one that has a point of difference in that it is stocked with Rebecca and John’s keen curatorial taste and eye. Rebecca tells me: “We don’t stock anything that we don’t love to eat and drink ourselves. We sample everything, and if we don’t think it works in terms of quality or provenance, it doesn’t make it to our shelves.”

The Cornish Kitchen is a place where John and Rebecca hope to bring healthy and tasty inspiration to everyday life, along with a little bit of luxury. The couple are constantly on the search for artisanal, local produce that will complement their already burgeoning stock of tasty treats, and every item on sale in the store earns its place. New for this season will be fresh herbs and vegetables from a local grower, that will be on sale along with local eggs, meats and cheeses. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the couple have also just purchased a piece of land where their new herd of pigs are destined for some delicious local charcuterie next year.

While much of the deli is taken over for the produce, there are also some cute tables and chairs indoors and of course the large outdoor patio area, where visitors can enjoy dishes created from the deli produce. John is the chef, he cooks nightly for his family as well, while Rebecca is the baker. Homemade bread and bagels can be filled with meats and cheeses from the deli counter, served with pickles, crisp salad and hummus. Daily salads are created with imagination to be enjoyed alongside warm quiches with light crumbly pastry, or there’s a tasting platter for sharing. Morning visits are rewarded with flaky pastries and Pastel de Nata, washed down with a fragrant hot coffee while the cake counter will send sweet tooths in paroxysms of pleasure. Succulent brownies, buttery flapjacks filled with seeds and dried fruit and delicate, pastel nougat bars with pistachio that have to be tasted to be believed.

Already, The Cornish Kitchen is drawing an appreciative neighbourhood crowd that has found itself completely enamoured by the tasty menu of house-baked goodies. The Frankiss’ intention was for it to be an all-year-round destination store and café, catering as much for the local Falmouth community as for its visitors. This year sees them branch out with home delivery of their sharing platters, or indeed a deli selection of your choice, within a ten-mile radius – perfect for entertaining without the work. Add in a bottle (or two) of carefully selected wine or prosecco and you have the ingredients for a fun feast night. Picnic hampers are also particularly popular, especially for day sails from the nearby marina. Choose from cheeses, aged charcuterie and ready-to-eat gourmet dishes made using the finest and freshest local ingredients and artisan groceries.

With the rise in demand for vegan and gluten-free goods, these are catered for too and there is an emphasis on local brands that is good for sustainability. The ethos is very much to champion and support small growers and producers, but John and Rebecca will be led by demand and can source special products at their customers’ request. The Cornish Kitchen’s growing reputation for selling the highest quality foods is making this a real destination deli.


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