Take a look at all of the amazing chefs that visited in 2018, we’re busy inviting chefs to attend the 2019 festival and will share the news soon!
Head Chef at Fifteen Cornwall
Adam took up the post of Head Chef at Fifteen Cornwall in April 2017. He worked with them previously as a Senior Sous chef for five years before leaving to follow his love of food in Australia. Returning to the UK in 2015, Adam joined the team at the Star and Garter in Falmouth alongside two other former Fifteen chefs. Adam played a key role in shaping the Star and Garter menus and style of food in the restaurant, contributing to the accolade of Best Foodie Pub in the South West as voted for by the readers of Food Magazine. Adam Banks works closely with our trusted local suppliers whose passion and dedication to growing and rearing high quality produce is celebrated in the innovative dishes he creates. Since his arrival, Adam’s considered approach to cooking and nose to tail ethos has been inspiring our chefs to make the most of this produce, whilst encouraging them to ferment, pickle, preserve and cleverly use every edible part of our beautiful ingredients.
Appleton's Bar and Restaurant
Andy Appleton is the former Head Chef of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, in that position for 9 years, originally a senior sous chef at Fifteen London, he was part of the team that launched the Fifteen concept back in 2002. Andy left Fifteen in February 2016 and started his own venture, a restaurant called Appleton’s at the Vineyard, a small restaurant within a new vineyard and winery in Cornwall, Trevibban Mill. For Andy, food is about more than the recipes – it’s a whole attitude and lifestyle that makes great food the focus of every day. It’s about sourcing the best seasonal ingredients at their peak, and letting them do the talking without unnecessary clutter and complexities. Andy uses some exciting and specialist ingredients from Italy but also a lot of small artisanal local producers to support the local economy.
Bini’s career has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Her portfolio of accolades now includes a raft of awards for her cookery classes (Olive magazine, best Indian cookery courses as well as the Guardian top food courses in the UK) and frozen ready meal range winning 11 Great Taste Awards, numerous high-profile TV and Radio appearances (BBC, ITV and C4) as well as featuring in local and national press (The Guardian, Delicious Magazine, Olive Magazine, Crumbs Magazine). Bini’s longstanding collaboration with Thatchers Cider (pairing curries with ciders) has been rolled out across the UK, Australia and the US. She is also a champion for Women in Business for the Federations of Small Business (FSB) South West region sitting on the national task force.
Ashburton Cookery School
After training at Exeter College, Darrin began his career at Gidleigh Park followed by working for several years in fine dining restaurants around the UK. His love of teaching brought him back to Exeter College, and he joined the Ashburton Cookery School in 2004 with the vision to create a cookery school with a strong ethos supporting South West producers and artisan suppliers. Five years ago he was instrumental in the development of the Ashburton Food Festival and in 2012 was responsible for launching the Ashburton Chefs Academy which has now become a professional accredited training centre teaching culinary diploma's in cuisine and patisserie to an advanced level.
Dez's career started in London with jobs at the Law Courts on the Strand and a private hospital on Baker Street. This led to a role at the world famous Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly working with Michael Quinn MBE and Andreas Antonia, now of the 1 Michelin starred restaurant Simpsons in Birmingham. Dez then spent two years at the Michelin rated Terrace Restaurant situated at the NEC, Birmingham before helping to open The Alverton Manor, a country house hotel in Truro, Cornwall. In 1990, Dez became Head Chef at The Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth which quickly gained recognition and was awarded its first AA Rosette. In 1992, Dez was approached by Brend Hotels to take over at The Royal Duchy Hotel, Falmouth and quickly helped them achieve their 4 Star status as well as being awarded 2 AA Rosettes which they continue to hold. In 2008, Dez became Group Development Chef for Brend Hotels in charge of 11 hotels, 2 Restaurants and some 100 chefs.
Head Sommelier at Fifteen Cornwall
Elly Owen has been working in the restaurant trade since she was thirteen, predominantly as a waitress but with a brief spell as a chef working in France. Whilst in France, Elly worked a vintage in the Medoc and did the vendange (grape harvest) in 2005 for Chateaux Meyney. This sparked her passion for wine and became the focus of her interest when she joined Fifteen Cornwall in 2009. Elly initially started as a waitress at Fifteen and gradually progressed into wine, whilst observing, learning and putting into action the knowledge she has gained over the years. In 2015 she was appointed as Head Sommelier. Elly couldn't be happier training new staff, writing the wine list and tasting wonderful new wines with fresh light, energy and purpose. Elly is renowned for her approachability, enthusiasm and ability to make wine accessible. She enjoys breaking down wine walls and being able to share some amazing wines with staff and customers alike.
The Idle Rocks, St Mawes, Cornwall
Guy was born in Hampshire and developed his culinary expertise with some of London’s leading chefs, including Gordon Ramsay at his Michelin starred restaurant at Claridge’s, Jerome Tauvron at L'Etranger and James Bennington and Bruce Poole at Michelin starred La Trompette. Guy moved to South East Cornwall at the age of eight and throughout his school years began helping in the kitchens of local restaurants after lessons and at weekends. More recently, having returned to the West Country in 2009, Guy worked at leading hotels Gidleigh Park, under Michael Caines, and the Driftwood Hotel, where he became sous chef under Chris Eden. It was Cornish produce that fuelled Guy’s passion for food. The menu at The Idle Rocks reflects the hotel’s ethos of re-engaging with the simple pleasures in life and uses only the best ingredients with a mix of classical and modern cooking methods. Guy is totally focused on sustainability, and promoting local businesses. Whether that be a local day boat
James trained as an apprentice chef at Exeter College while working at the Diggers Rest at Woodbury Salterton. He then moved to Oxford to work as chef de partie in a 2 rosette pub and worked a stage at Gordon Ramsey’s 3 star Hospital Road restaurant. James then returned to Devon temporarily to take the position of chef de partie at ABode Exeter before moving to Sussex to work at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan in Horsham, Sussex. James then returned to Devon again to work as junior sous with Tom Williams-Hawke at The Salutation Inn, Topsham. Later taking the position of sous chef, it was from here that James entered and won South West Young Professional Chef of the Year. Thanks to his success in the competition, James was offered the position of head chef at No.1 Rock Road, Rock, Cornwall and he began his new role there in March 2016.
Co-owner and head chef / tutor at Exeter Cookery School
Co-owner and head chef / tutor at the award-winning Exeter Cookery School, Best in the South West according to Food Magazine readers, Jim Fisher is an entertaining and engaging demo chef who has honed his skills during an extensive culinary career. A former Masterchef semi-finalist, Jim first started cheffing in the kitchens of Exeter’s White Hart Hotel, where he met and proposed to his now wife and business partner, Lucy. He then went on to cook alongside Rick Stein in Padstow and Alistair Little in Notting Hill before the couple upped sticks and headed to the Dordogne to open up a residential cookery school. Despite the locals’ bemusement at the idea of an Englishman teaching anyone to cook, not least in France, CookinFrance became a big hit! Fifteen years later, Jim and Lucy returned to the UK, following their roots back to Devon, and are now making a huge success of their exciting new venture on Exeter’s thriving quayside.
The Pony & Trap
Josh Eggleton is Chef Patron of multi-award winning pub The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, founder of Salt & Malt, a fish cafe and tearoom on the banks of Chew Valley Lake; Chicken Shed an all organic fried Chicken restaurant on Bristol’s iconic harbourside as well as being co-owner of the popular Bristol gastropub, The Kensington Arms. Josh is also the co-founder of the pop-up restaurant and food festival, Eat Drink Bristol Fashion. Making his name at The Pony & Trap, Josh and his sister Holly have taken the 200 year old pub from strength to strength since their arrival in 2006. Now recognised as one of the most exciting places to eat in the South West, in 2011 the Pony & Trap was awarded a prestigious Michelin Star which it has held ever since. In 2017, The Pony & Trap was named the third best gastropub in the country at the Estrella Damm Gastropub Awards and was listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants.
The Masons Arms, North Devon
The Masons Arms, Mark and Sarah Dodsons’ Thirteenth Century characterful thatched Inn with a cosy beamed bar and comfortable lounge, offers log fires and a warm welcome. Mark was, for twelve years, Head Chef of Michel Roux’s Waterside Inn, Bray. His food displays a modern take on British and French classics with a certain complexity to the cooking and with that it comes as no surprise that the Masons Arms has been recognised by all the major guides and was awarded a Michelin Star in 2006 which has been retained since.
Award winning exceptional local cuisine using only the finest ingredients and presented with taste and style. Wonderful friendly service complete this first class restaurant within this North Devon pub in the village of Knowstone. Truly two experiences in one!
Michael Caines MBE
Michael Caines MBE is one of the UK’s most celebrated and acclaimed chefs. Over the past fifteen years, he has also proved himself to be a successful and imaginative hotelier.
Lympstone Manor marks the pinnacle of a career that has been simply scintillating. For the past two years, Michael has spent his time creatively and imaginatively transforming an historic Grade II listed Georgian mansion overlooking the Exe estuary into his wholly personal and exciting vision of contemporary country house hospitality for the 21st century. With 21 stunning guestrooms and suites named after the birds of the estuary, three beautiful and individual dining rooms in which to savour Michael’s acclaimed cuisine matched with a world-class wine cellar, 28 acres of gardens, grounds and parkland all set in the beauty and tranquility of East Devon and the Jurassic Coast, a stay here is a totally exceptional experience.
Chef and owner at Rockfish
Though an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author, Mitch Tonks, most succinctly summed up, has a love of seafood and an insatiable desire to share that passion with others. His prestigious restaurants are International and National multi-award winning, with Rockfish taking 2 awards at this year’s Seafish awards and The Seahorse being in the Sunday Times Top UK 100 restaurants. His book ‘Fresh’ scooped ‘Best Fish Book’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Mitch’s desire for sharing wonderful food is in evidence across all the restaurants in his group, from his flagship Seahorse to Rockfishes in Dartmouth, Torquay, Plymouth, Brixham & Exmouth (with Exeter opening summer 2018). Mitch is committed to constantly giving back to the community, having embarked on an academy scheme to train new chefs in partnership with South Devon College. On matters of UK fishing, sustainability and supply, his is arguably one of the most erudite, passionate and credible voices out there.
Ashburton Cookery School, Devon
Robert joined Ashburton Cookery School in 2011 after a distinguished chef career cooking in many fine-dining restaurants including sous chef at L'Ortolan, head chef at the Michelin starred Rhodes in the Square, and the New Angel in Dartmouth.
Scott started cooking at The Jack in the Green near Exeter, having joined them as a kitchen porter when he was still at school. He worked his way through the ranks at The Jack over a period of 9 years, from KP to Commi Chef to Pastry Chef to Sous Chef. Whilst there he completed various work placements in other acclaimed restaurants and patisseries, both in the UK and in Paris. In terms of awards, Scott has won South West Chef of the Year in 2009, and Dessert of the Year in 2008. The Horn has also won a whole host of awards during his time as Head Chef there, including “Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Devon” in the 2012 Food & Drink Awards. They have also won a bronze award for “Devon Hotel of the Year” in the 2012 Devon Tourism Awards. There is a strong emphasis on local produce at the restaurant, with over 70% of their produce sourced within the County, and 90% from the South West.
The Elephant by Simon Hulstone
Simon has been cooking professionally since his school days and is one of the UK’s most decorated chefs. Simon has twice represented the UK in the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most challenging and prestigious culinary contest. He is captain of the British team in the Culinary Olympics and was also captain of the English Culinary Team at the Culinary World Cup in 2010 and 2012. Since heading up the team at The Elephant, Simon has brought his extensive influence of traditional and world cuisine to Torbay, putting the English Riviera on the culinary map. The Elephant was awarded a Michelin star in 2005 which it maintains today. Simon and his father, Roger (also a successful chef) recently took over Burridge’s tea rooms on the Torquay harbourside.
Director at ODE - true food
Tim Bouget was born in Devon and studied at Exeter College, going onto the work with Michel Roux at the Waterside inn in Bray and other top London eateries. Later years saw Tim travel and work in North America, Asia, Caribbean, South Africa, and the Middle-East at the highest levels in the hospitality industry in a career spanning 30 years.
On returning to the UK in 2007 Tim and Clare opened their intimate dining room ODE in the coastal village of Shaldon which went on the win South West Restaurant of the year for 2 years in succession and listed in the UK top 100 at the National restaurant awards and awarded sustainable restaurant of the year in 2012
ODE-true food was awarded the prestigious Catey 2014 for sustainable business and is widely recognised as being at the very forefront of the sustainable food movement operating the highest rated sustainable restaurant and the café in the UK.
The Salutation Inn, Topsham
Tom started his cooking journey during a school work experience at Gidleigh Park, Chagford under the guidance of Michael Caines. Michael, himself started his professional career at The Imperial Hotel in Exeter run by Tom’s forefathers. His great grandfather ran Deller’s of Exeter for 17 years between the First and Second World War. It was an amazing cafe renowned for its quality and architecturally a leading Art Nouveau building. Tom attended Exeter College as a chef trainee for three years graduating as Top Student, then on to Gordon Ramsey at Hospital Road, Chelsea then to Petrus under Marcus Waring before returning to Devon and working his way up to Sous Chef at Gidleigh for Michael. A spell in France followed for the Rothschilds during Gidleigh refurbishment and then onto the Abode in Exeter as Executive Chef for three years before opening the Salutation with the family. Now Tom, with the help of his wife Amelia, runs The Salutation Inn; a fabulous restaurant with rooms, café