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

Email: enquiries@number6inpadstow.co.uk



‘Big Love’, Pasta and a Proper Job.

I have a particular soft spot for Fifteen Cornwall where I recently celebrated my birthday lunch. It is great in the day time because the view is always interesting. The weather and the big waves out of season can make it dramatic, the surfers and dog walkers keeps it animated, the local food sourcing policy and the opportunity it has given many young, otherwise ‘given up on’ people to turn their lives around makes me feel warm inside. But none of this would be worth the trip on their own if the food wasn’t so delicious. I’ve never eaten anything there that I haven’t really enjoyed every last morsel of.

Here’s a piece I wrote for Cornwall Today a while ago.

The ‘salt of the earth’ (and sea) which nurtured the ‘roots,’ tended the ‘sprouts,’ which made the restaurant bloom that attracted the bees… Continue reading

New venue for Rock Oyster Festival

Rock Oyster Festival, now in its second year, is a boutique food, music and arts festival held on Cornwall’s north coast this summer.

Put it in your diary:  17th to 19th June 2011, at Dinham House on the Camel Estuary near Rock.

The Rock Oyster Festival will bring together the best of Cornish food and produce, quirky music acts and family entertainment – and raise thousands of pounds for charity. Continue reading

Cornwall’s in the UK’s best region for food

Rick Stein and fellow chefs Nathan Outlaw, Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, Michael Caines (pictured here celebrating the launch with Director Jo Rees on the roof terrace of the Seafood Restaurant)

The Trencherman’s Guide confirms the southwest as the hot new region to experience the very best of British food.

The Trencherman’s Director Jo Rees said, “We are at a tipping point in terms of good quality food and drink producers, especially in Cornwall, and yesterday was an appropriately beautiful Spring day in Cornwall for the lunch-time launch of the latest, ‘Trencherman’s Guide 2011-2012 at Rick Stein restaurant in Padstow. The superb quality of food produced locally has been a tremendous boost to the Cornwall brand, and Jo explained that, “When it comes to local chef’s they really do ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to using local produce. It’s all about food with authenticity, and chefs are buying quality fish that has been caught sustainably, produce that has been reared, harvested and produced with care.” Continue reading

Sitting on Green Lawns and loving it.

Food at the Rose-in-Vale (but not at the Challenge)

Having said, I wasn’t going, I did.

I’d cried: “Oh for a baby-sitter…” and my prayers were answered thanks to my lovely friend Wendy (she even said my kids were lovely)!

The thought of a four course dinner on a Monday night is pretty compelling, but the intriguing idea that this evening would be a fine catering ‘cook-off’ made it completely irresistible. Having been shortlisted from 13 or more restaurants that had submitted menus,  six teams, from six very different Cornish restaurants were to cook 4 courses cooked for two tables of guests each. Every menu had to include a fish course and a the main course of pork.

The six teams – The Ferryboat InnThe Rose-in-ValeFalmouth Beach Resort, The Green LawnsThe Pandora Inn and The Coldstreamer, each had to serve 20 guests, as well as the judges. Continue reading