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.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall
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.
The Holt, Honiton
Angus McCaig runs The Holt pub and restaurant and Toast Cafe and patisserie with his brother Joe. Using local ingredients to create accessible, simple and tasty food at both venues on Honiton High Street. The pub serves the full range of Otter beers. Angus now teaches bread making and smoked and cured food classes at The Holt. The Holt has previously won Taste of the West Dining pub of the year, and currently holds 2 AA rosettes.
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 10 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.
THE PIG-at Combe
Dan is a passionate chef with over twelve years of experience of working in world class kitchens. He started out his career working as a Commis Chef at several acclaimed restaurants in London. One of which was Tom Aikens, a one Michelin stared restaurant in Chelsea, London where Dan gathered a huge amount of experience working on the larder and pastry section. In January 2014 Dan was appointed Sous Chef at THE PIG-near Bath and worked his way up to Senior Sous Chef where he was heavily involved with the daily running of the kitchen. Dan’s skills, attitude and hard work were rewarded as he was appointed head chef at the recently opened PIG-at Combe, the fifth PIG addition of this highly successful group founded by Robin Hutson. THE PIG’s famous 25 Mile Menu suits Dan’s passion down to the ground of using high quality fresh local produce and creating exciting but simple new dishes.
Ashburton Chefs Academy
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 St Tudy Inn
To put it simply, Emily is passionate about food. She creates dishes that follow the seasons, gathering the finest ingredients and combining them simply and instinctively. It is in her kitchen where she feels most at home. She loves nothing more than delighting others through food, bringing friends and family together around a table. Emily has 3 children; Oscar, Finn and Evie who constantly amaze and inspire her. Emily trained in France and it is her knowledge of the classic techniques that form the backbone to her skills. In 2000 she moved to Cornwall where she then successfully ran The Harbour Restaurant in Port Isaac for over 6 years. In 2013 she was named Best Chef South West by Food Magazine and was nominated as a Local Food Hero.
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
The Savoy Hotel first employed James while still just a student on the Specialised Chef course, and within 3 years he had completed all sections at the Savoy and hand a firm grasp of Classical French cooking. During the next 7 years James’s love for British seasonal produce began to present; truffles, foie gras and caviar were happily exchanged with elvers, lamb’s kidneys, Dorset cockles and snipe.Through his work as Group Chef Director at THE PIG & Home Grown Hotels Ltd, he has worked to raise interest in where his food comes from and how it tastes. All three PIG hotels have been awarded two Rosettes from the AA and Brockenhurst has made it into this year’s Michelin guide as a recommended restaurant. The Pig has also been voted for the second time the UK’s most sustainable restaurant by the SRA this year and have been placed in the top 100 restaurants for the third consecutive year at the National Restaurant Awards 2014.
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 Castle Hotel, Taunton
Liam Finnegan, has been head chef at The Castle Hotel in Taunton since 2012. He grew up in Carlingford, Co Louth in Ireland where he spent his time as a self-professed ‘menace’. So much so that his grandmother put him to work in her kitchen, just to keep a watchful eye. Little did she know that her intervention would grow into his lifelong appreciation for the hard work and graft it takes to cook quality food. Since then, Liam’s career path took him through some fantastic restaurants such as The George Hotel on the Isle of White, The Bath Priory and Gidleigh Park where he worked for Micheal Cains, and The Nuremore Hotel (Ray McArdle). When asked about awards, Liam says that a full restaurant and happy customers are more important. “Of course, accolades are brilliant, but anything we get, we receive and share as a team.”
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!
The Jack in the Green, near Exeter
Matthew Mason has been the Head Chef of The Jack in the Green at Rockbeare near Exeter for 20 years. Born and brought up in Devon, after serving his apprenticeship under the tutorage of Shaun Hill at Gidleigh Park, Matthew took over the kitchens of The Jack in the Green in 1995. A year later the Jack became one of the first pubs in Britain to achieve 2 AA rosettes; an award that it has maintained ever since. A proud father, Matthew's driving ambition is that his passion for good food comes through in each of the dishes the kitchen serves every day. In September the pub retained its Bib Gourmand from Michelin for providing outstanding value for money for the sixth consecutive year. In December it was named by Devon Life as their 2015/16 ‘Gastro Pub of the Year.’
Lewtrenchard Manor, Okehampton
Born in Bournemouth in 1985, Matthew studied the Specialised Chefs course at Bournemouth and Poole college. From 2001 he took on a three year apprenticeship at one of the best country house hotels in the UK, The Chewton Glen Hotel, and spent a total of six years working under three great head chefs Pierre Chevillard, Alan Murchison and Luke Matthews, moving through the ranks from apprentice to chef de partie. In 2007, Matthew moved on from Chewton Glen and set his sights on Jersey in the Channel Islands. He started with Mark Jordan at The Atlantic Hotel as junior sous chef and after a short time Matthew was promoted to sous chef. Then in 2010 with the business at The Atlantic expanding Matthew was promoted to head chef while still working under the watchful eye of Mark Jordan. In April 2013 Matthew moved his family to Lewdown in Devon and is now Head Chef at Lewtrenchard Manor. Working closely with his team to produce simple clean dishes using the best of what Devon has to offer.
Michael Caines MBE
The inspiration behind the Festival, two Michelin star chef Michael Caines opened Lympstone Manor in 2017. Michael was formally the Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park and Director of Brownsword Hotels, Michael is Director of Michael Caines Restaurants. Born in Exeter, he has long been a champion of the South West and the outstanding quality of its local produce. Michael was awarded an MBE in 2006 for Services to the Hospitality Industry and AA Chef’s Chef of the Year in 2007
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.
Consultant and celebrity chef Peter Gorton and Fellow Masterchef of Great Britain is one of the best-known chefs in the south west of England. Peter has many years of Michelin Star experience and provides consultancy services to hotels and restaurants throughout Britain and abroad. He also runs a successful Hospitality Academy in association with GHQ Training and works extensively with schools in food education.
Peter began his culinary career in 1980 at the age of 16 and trained at some of the finest restaurants in the UK and around the world, from The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny to the Burnham Beaches Hotel in Melbourne, Australia and Jamin in Paris. He has made a number television series including Little Chefs, a six-part programme for ITV Westcountry, and Kill It, Cook It, Eat It for BBC3. Peter is happy in the media spotlight and regularly contributes to magazine articles and recipe columns for the local and national media.
Ashburton Cookery School, Devon
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.
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