Chef’s Special: Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay

Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot Belly of Pork and Pork Fillet, pea croquette with a black pudding crumb, pea rillette, sour apple coulis and pea salt.

Slow cooked Gloucester Old Spot

Aaron Janes

Recipe by: Aaron Janes, Head Chef, Silks Bistro & Champagne Bar, Atlantic Hotel, Newquay.

Aaron lives, breaths and dreams food, such is his passion for Silks restaurant that he helped to create back in 2004. His desire is to bring cooking in Cornwall, well and truly into the 21st century by creating classic British dishes with the very best Cornish ingredients.

“I like using only two simple ingredients and do something spectacular with them,” he explains. “As with the pea and pork – cooked in a variety of different ways with the added the element of delight and surprise so that people say, gosh that really tastes of peas!”

“The Gloucester Old Spot for this dish come from Ballardsfield Farm (practically next door to where I live), It’s great to see exactly where and how the pigs are raised. That’s the fantastic thing about Cornwall, sea and farmland is so close by and variety of produce is abundant and when there’s a glut of top quality something in season, I believe it’s best to grab it when you can!”

“The dish is really not as complicated to create as it sounds.  Every stage is really very simple. There are no complicated techniques, it’s just planning and having all the elements ready to use in advance,” Aaron reassures. “Using a water bath ensures that the meat is kept tender, full of flavour and melts in the mouth when you eat it. Having the meat perfectly cooked beforehand means it is instantly ready to be given the last stage of the cooking to order.” Continue reading


Taste of the Fairground

Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 Restaurant, Padstow

By the time you read this – and I had to wait until Cornwall Today who commissioned this published it first – they’ll be a long queue forming of diners at Paul Ainsworth’s door. Keen to try his celebratory dessert made up of raspberry curd-filled doughnuts, honeycomb lollipops, chocolate-y peanut popcorn, toffee apples and marshmallow kebabs. A pick and mix pudding, the ‘Taste of the Fairground’, is a clever twist on sweet spoils for kids.

BBC Two’s programme, The Great British Menu, inspired by the Eden Project’s Big Lunch, chose ‘cooking for the people’ for this year’s theme.  24 chefs from across Britain were invited to take part. The brief was to create awe-inspiring food that could be shared in ‘A People’s Banquet’ or the ultimate street party. “It’s all about breaking down barriers, sharing dishes and creating conversation,” explains Mathew Fort, one of the Menu’s three judges alongside Oliver Peyton and Prue Leith.

“I’ve Nathan Outlaw to thank,” Paul explains, “for my taking part. Nathan had taken part in a previous series of the programme and was invited again, however he was too busy so he put me forward.”

Paul’s story, his growing reputation, and his approval by his chef peers should inspire any young school leaver uncertain of their career choice and future.

“My background isn’t one of being inspired through cooking at home. The desire to be a chef happened by chance. Working in the Star Hotel was just one of my work experience options during school. If I’d ended up in the camping shop things might have been very differently,” Paul remarks, “The landlady, Mrs. Brown was a kind of ‘Peggy Mitchell’ character. She saw how keen I was to get a job at 16 and earn some money. I started as a kitchen boy, washing up in a blue boiler suit. Eventually, the chef would let me prep the food a bit, and then I was allowed to make the odd toasted sandwich too. My ultimate thrill was being in charge of a ‘Huntsman’: a steak baguette with mayonnaise. It led me onto catering college.”

Paul built his career through 8 years of working with London’s finest including Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus and Marcus Waring. In 2005 he came to Cornwall to be head chef in Padstow’s ‘Number 6 Restaurant’. “The menu was an ambitious one, aiming towards the fine dining market with expensive and complex menus. We were cooking to impress with amuse-bouches and tasting menus. But”, Paul explains, “in Cornwall this is not really what dinners want. Even if used to eating in places like ‘The Fat Duck’, visitors relish a more relaxed style of dinning when they come to Cornwall.”

When Paul was offered sole leasehold of the restaurant in 2008. He rebranded the restaurant and changed the whole ethos of the menu, “although it can feel like putting your neck on the line,” he remarks, calling it ‘Paul Ainsworth at Number 6’. Offering 3 courses dinner and lunch menus at an affordable set price. “We provide children’s menus to make families feel welcome and we are just as happy when people just want to pop in for coffee and a dessert.”

Paul beat Michelin-starred André Garrett, Head Chef at the Hilton Park Lane Galvin restaurant, and John Hooker from Tavistock in the regional heats, making it to the final eight-chef showdown. Ultimately, it is his ‘Taste of the Fairground’ that triumphs to be paraded down the ancient cobbled streets of Leadenhall Market to grace the tables of 100 expectant guests. The competition required the chefs to think differently, think big, generously and theatrically, as well as gastronomically. It is good to know that ultimately ‘A Taste of the Fairground’ did just that.

Paul has just opened new venture, ‘Rojano’s’, in keeping with his belief that the only way to cook is with fresh, local, seasonal produce.  As a big Italian eatery in the heart of Padstow, it’ll surely ease the popular queue at ‘No.6’.

For Further information:

6, Middle Street, Padstow,Cornwall,
PL28 8AP

Tel: 01841 532 093


Chef’s Special: The Brasserie at Roserrow

Pot Roast Shoulder of Cornish Lamb, Potatoes Dauphinoise, Thyme Jus

Head chef Ryan Tomkins

Pot Roast Shoulder of Cornish Lamb, Potatoes Dauphinoise, Thyme Jus

Recipe by: Ryan Tomkins, Head Chef, The Brasserie at Roserrow.

“Simple, local, unpretentious food cooked well,” best describes the cuisine Ryan aims to produce. “The lamb is sourced from Button Farm, up the road, and many of the vegetables are grown a stone’s throw from here.”  However the care in preparation shouldn’t be underestimated. This is a very popular signature dish for the winter that takes two days to prepare. It’s cut of lamb not commonly used, however after carefully marinating for around 24 hours and cooking for 7 hours; the resulting dish is elegant and very flavoursome. “Everybody loves it and it creates a fantastic reaction with our dinners.”

Ryan, who originally grew up in Cornwall, has 15 years experience as a chef from inside and outside the county winning many competitions including winning ‘Chef of the West’ in 2006. For the last two years Ryan was Head Chef at Viner’s near Summercourt (owned by Michelin starred chef Kevin Viner).

Roserrow’s Golf & Country Club is currently undergoing a real change and transformation in style and the aim is to turn the Brasserie restaurant into a fine dining destination choice in its own right. Ryan is keen for this new challenge. “It is far easier to take over as Head Chef where a restaurant has already an established name,” he says, “but to start with a blank canvass, working hard to achieve a new reputation for high quality dining, is an exciting opportunity for me.” Having already assembled a great team, many of whom he worked with before at Viner’s, and he aims to gain a couple of rosettes for this new restaurant in the next two to three years. Continue reading

Chef’s Special: The Loop Restaurant at Retallack Resort and Spa

Crispy Fried whole line caught Sea Bass with chilli and tamarind sauce.

Stephen Lloyd

Crispy Fried whole line caught Sea Bass with chilli and tamarind sauce.

Recipe by: Stephen Lloyd, Head Chef, The Loop Restaurant at Retallack Resort and Spa

After ten years working as a chef in Australia including a number of years in the ‘Spirit House’, an award winning South East Asian restaurant in Queensland, Stephen Lloyd’s cooking follows a method of pure Asian food. “A million miles from the ‘fusion style cooking’ people talk a lot about,” he says, “or ‘confusion’ which it can easily become. I learnt completely different techniques, while working in a South East Asian kitchen, using very different flavours and produce.”

He took on the role as executive chef at Retallack Resort last August and it’s natural that he would want to introduce some Asian dishes to his new menu for coming season. Stephen also has plans for special menu events, Thai evenings, weddings and functions and it is hoped that local people will also recognise his unique dining experience in Cornwall.

“My food is very much in the style of the street hawker markets in the region where fresh ingredients cooked to order. It is traditional for many different dishes to be eaten at the same time. Of course in the restaurant they are presented in a much more refined way.” Stephen’s dish might appear deceptively simple to cook, however the recipe has large portions of sea bass that, without an industrial sized fryer or large wok, can be difficult to cook at home.

“Cornish line caught sea bass also shows complete traceability; the fish has a log number tag that will show who the fisherman was who actually caught it. However, bass is expensive so farmed sea bream can be used as an alternative. All the Asian ingredients: the tamarind, coriander root and palm sugar can be purchased from the Lana Thai supermarket in St. Austell.”

“This dish is ideally shared by two people and eaten, picking the pieces off the bone, by hand. It makes a dining experience that is actually quite intimate and romantic,” Stephen explains. “Chillies have something in them that is known to release endorphins and feel pleasure, however the tamarind sauce is a well-rounded balance of spicy, sweet and sour in one. It takes out most of the heat leaving a pleasant tingling sensation. I’m keen that people should try something new,” he adds, “but I want to keep it friendly and not scare people away by being too different.”

The Loop Restaurant offers relaxed dining in a bright, vibrant and fun environment. Using locally sourced ingredients, Stephen Lloyd creates simple, delicious, quality dishes at reasonable prices. As a family friendly restaurant, the menu caters for all ages from gourmet burgers to locally caught fish dishes. Continue reading

Chef’s Special: Watermark Brasserie, Glendorgal Hotel, Newquay.

Three Game Roll with Leek Mash, Braised Red Cabbage and a Rich Game Jus

Recipe by: Darren Lewis, Head Chef, Watermark Brasserie, Glendorgal Hotel, Newquay.

Darren Lewis

Three Game Roll with Leek Mash, Braised Red Cabbage and a Rich Game Jus

Originally from Cardiff where he trained as a chef, Darren worked in France for five years and later under Nick Hodges, of the Flying Fish restaurant, while he ran the restaurant at Lusty Glaze. He has since been Head chef at the Glendorgal for 2 ½ years. Darren’s philosophy is to cook good quality food, which has been done right and is properly homemade. “I like to cook traditional type of dishes but with a bit of a difference.” He adds, “95% of what we make is cooked and prepared by ourselves.”

The Game Roll is typical in that sense. “Many people are interested in this dish because they have never eaten pigeon before and yet it feels like a very traditional kind of meat. The flavours particularly work together as well. The duck is rich, but not gamey, and forms the largest part of the roll. The pheasant is gamey but not too strong, however the small piece of pigeon is really quite pungent in comparison. It may not be popular on its own, but here the flavours pull each other back and forth.”

Darren is very committed to what he does and would like his fine dining restaurant, open also to non-residents, to grow especially in the winter months. The menus change four times a year to reflect the changing seasons and local produce that is available. “They only dish we keep throughout the year,” he says, “is Glendorgal’s own unique version of ‘Fish and Chips’. We use the catch of the day- a white fish in beer batter – with tempura prawns and locally caught scallops, and serve with home cooked chunky chips, a pea purée, a seafood sauce and a sweet chilli sauce. As you can imagine, it is very popular.” Continue reading

Chef’s Special: The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay.

Neil Haydock

Calves liver with potato dumplings

Cornish rose calves liver with potato and turnip top dumplings, raisins, pine nuts and balsamic

Recipe by: Neil Haydock, Executive Chef, The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay.

Neil’s recent move from his last job as the executive chef at Fifteen has been “practically only as far as across the car park,” he says. “But with the challenge of overseeing three restaurants: The Beach Hut, The Living Space and The Brasserie, with some new and exciting changes happening at the hotel, it was an opportunity too irresistible to miss.”

Just before taking up the post, he had a trip to London to ‘update’ himself as to what the most recent dining styles and trends in the capital had become. “Presently, there is a growing resurgence for cooking dishes with offal, explains Neil. “There’s a move towards using the whole animal, hence a revival of interest for sweetbreads, kidneys and liver becoming increasingly popular. It’s unfortunate that recent generations have got out of the habit of eating offal, since the traditional British habit of over-cooking them resulted in granular textures and rather strong and metallic flavours. I used to demonstrate to trainee chefs at Fifteen with flash frying duck liver and serving it with pasta. They were always amazed how delicious they were.” Continue reading

Chef’s Special: Rocks Restaurant, Seiners, Perranporth.

Monkfish and prosciutto

Brian Johnson

Monkfish wrapped in prosciutto with pesto roasted fennel, sweet potato mash and a clam and champagne butter sauce (Serves 4)

Recipe by Brian Johnston, Rocks Restaurant, Seiners, Perranporth

“Buy local,” is Brian Johnston’s watch word, “It is true that you might have to pay a little bit more for your produce, but it is not only important to support your local fishmonger and butcher, it also ensures that you will get a far better quality that from a supermarket.” Brian doesn’t dispute that there are also some excellent European products available, “for example a good chorizo sausage shouldn’t be ignored”, and his recipes make the most of the best foods and flavours to be had.

“Monkfish is a delicate and lovely meaty fish and, with the added bonus of being caught in Cornish waters, is one of my favourite fishes both to cook and to eat,” says Brian. “The local clams,” he tells me, “might be best described as a posh mussel.” I am curious to know why sweet potatoes should be baked first if they are to be made into mash. “Baking holds the flavour where boiling looses it,” he elucidates.

As Head Chef of a relatively new restaurant, Brian is very sincere about the quality of food he presents to his diners. Local produce and seasonality are clearly important; the menu changes and evolves in response to this and feedback from the clientele. “I believe in going out and talking to my customers and I am interested in what they have to say.” Diners say they have found a little gem in this Perranporth restaurant which offers exceptional fine dining in at a very reasonable price. Continue reading