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Life on the rocks

Words by Bethany Allen

The Idle Rocks Hotel is delighted to announce a bright culinary future with Michelin-trained Executive Head Chef, Dorian Janmaat at the helm.

The Idle Rocks has been part of the St Mawes community since 1913 and by the 1930s, it had established itself as a luxury coastal hotel – a status that it still holds to this day. Perched perfectly on the rocks in the heart of St Mawes, the 19-bedroom Relais & Châteaux features individually designed bedrooms that reflect waterside comfort and luxury. With an award-winning restaurant and unbeatable south-facing views across the water, the coastal environment at the Idle Rocks is peaceful and the hospitality is genuine and engaging.

2020 marked the start of a new era for the Idle Rocks with the arrival of Executive Head Chef, Dorian Janmaat, who will pave the way to a new culinary future for the hotel. The award-winning chef has returned to his home county of Cornwall, following an impressive few years at the pinnacle of the British restaurant scene. “I joined the Idle Rocks team in January following eight years at the iconic two Michelin star Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons as Head Chef alongside the legendary Raymond Blanc,” says Dorian. The skills that Dorian has learnt as a result will allow him to make the most of Cornwall’s exceptional produce to create Michelin standard dishes that can be enjoyed amidst beautiful coastal surroundings.

When discussing what drew him to St Mawes, Dorian explains that having grown up in Penzance he has been waiting for the right opportunity to arise and come ‘home’ to Cornwall. “Being a Relais & Chateâux property, and after meeting the fantastic owners, David and Karen Richards, I knew the Idle Rocks was a perfect fit and an exciting opportunity.” Another reason why Cornwall beckoned is the incredible local produce that we have here. “Cornwall is home to some of the best fresh fish and shellfish in the country, if not the world, and it’s all right on my doorstep,” says Dorian. “I am a very lucky chef!”

It’s therefore unsurprising that the outstanding local produce has a big part to play in the curation of Dorian’s menu. “My menus are simple, well balanced and seasonal,” says Dorian. “I’m really looking forward to bringing all that I have learnt under one of the industry’s greatest mentors back to the county I grew up in. My ambition is to capture the local surroundings with each plate, simple, pure and straight from the source.” There will be a fixed-price, two or three-course à la carte style menu for dinner, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. Dorian will also be introducing in the coming months his modern take on afternoon tea.

When you’re living and working in Cornwall, it’s hard not to be inspired by the stunning coastal surroundings and as Dorian and I discuss the various elements that inspire him, it’s clear that one aspect of life in Cornwall stands out. “The seasons,” says Dorian. “I believe that we should all eat seasonally and support our local businesses. My menus are inspired by what my trusted local suppliers are able to offer, together with my wealth of understanding for taste, texture and balance.”

Alongside its award-winning food, the Idle Rocks offers a relaxed environment with the perfect combination of great hospitality, amazing views and of course delicious food. It really is a home away from home. “I’m biased but I think our guests get to enjoy the best view in Cornwall,” says Dorian. “There’s nowhere nearer the ocean.” Even if you’re not staying at the Idle Rocks you still have the opportunity to dine at the hotel. Whether it’s morning coffee on the terrace or dinner in the restaurant, the Idle Rocks is accessible to everyone.”

Executive Head Chef Dorian Janmaat

With so many great places to relax and dine in St Mawes, the Idle Rocks takes its place amongst them as yet another foodie destination. When it comes to what’s in store for the summer season, Dorian has this to say: “I’m looking forward to a busy summer season. Guests will be enjoying the best shellfish and fish and my menus will be showcasing the excellent produce Cornwall has to offer. All I can say is watch this space! My aspiration is built on our already great foundations, and we as a team are striving for excellence.”

“We believe there is a real appetite for food produced from the finest local ingredients, and in Cornwall we have the finest produce anywhere,” adds Hotel Owner, David Richards. “We are excited to have the brilliance of Dorian in our kitchen who can transform this produce into incredible dishes for our guests.”

It’s not just the foodie scene that makes St Mawes a tempting holiday destination, it’s also the location. Situated on the stunning Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for its quality of landscape and unrivalled coastal scenery. The hotel is surrounded by secluded coves, delightful creeks, lush countryside, tranquil beaches and scenic cliffs. These surroundings are like something out of a dream with many options for days out and activities including touring the pretty rural fishing villages, visiting beautiful gardens, walking, cycling and of course enjoying a multitude of water based activities.

One suggestion for a particularly idyllic day out would be to walk from St Mawes castle to St Just in Roseland Church. The medieval castle was built by Henry VIII and represents the area’s significance as a historic waterway, then as you wander along the banks of the Carrick Roads to St Just in Roseland, you can take in the natural beauty of the area with rich green foliage and tranquil waters as well as being able to watch sailing boats cruise along these famous waterways. The Carrick Roads is a world-renowned sailing destination so you may even be lucky enough to witness one of the many regattas that are held here during your explorations.

As you continue along your path you will eventually stumble upon St Just in Roseland’s beautiful 13th century church. Set amongst beautiful gardens beside a peaceful tidal creek, the church is described as ‘the most beautiful churchyard in England’. It really is a breathtaking place to visit and one that you are sure to remember fondly for years to come.

Thankfully, the Idle Rocks hotel allows you to access all of this and more from absolute comfort, overlooking the estuary and entrance to the Fal river. It presents the ultimate in waterside luxury for guests, so that your stresses can ebb with the tide and you can enjoy coastal couture at its finest. It’s a place where you can take a breath and escape the every-day stresses of modern life, where you can enjoy great food amidst panoramic views and immerse yourself in the beauty of Cornwall.

The hotel features grand sea and harbour view rooms, village hideaways and family rooms, meaning that there is accommodation to suit all tastes and requirements. Luxurious bathrooms, wonderfully spacious beds and classic seaside décor await for an unforgettable stay in a gorgeous location.


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