Cornwall LivingIssue #131

Exciting times ahead

After Christmas in New Zealand, Jude Kereama is back, ready to hit the ground running with some exciting culinary plans for 2023.

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everybody has had an amazing festive season. Now that we’re back – the dust having settled after New Year’s Day and much celebratory feasting and drinking – our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions. They turn to the promises many of us make to eat healthier, to drink less, and to do more exercise. As many will know, it’s incredibly difficult to discipline yourself after all the gluttony of Christmas. I myself always use the holidays as an excuse to gorge on all of the season’s treats – stuffing myself on pigs in blankets, snaffling mince pies all day, not to mention the blue cheese and port, turkey toasties, tots of whiskey, and what usually equates to a barrel of red wine.

If you are like me and are now reaching desperately for the Rennies, you’re likely thinking about how you can get back in shape. Some might even be going to such lengths as taking on Dry January, or Veganuary. Of course, some don’t want to commit to such extreme regimens, but that’s not to say that you can’t still eat healthy, nutritious dishes to foster a better sense of health. I personally always love a good, nutritious stew or hot pot, brimming with flavour and full of seasonal vegetables. Hot soups, chowders and bone broths; these are all favourites as well. Another healthy dish that springs to mind is my mum’s Hainese chicken – poached in, and served with, a ginger broth, as well as rice, vegetables, crispy chilli oil and a soy ginger dipping sauce. It’s like a health tonic and is packed full of flavour.

Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to go back to New Zealand to spend Christmas with my family. It was the first time I’d seen them in person in years, so it was amazing to spend some quality time together. But it was also a chance for me to enjoy Kiwi cuisine and, on our journey over, to try out a few restaurants in San Francisco and Los Angeles! As a chef, I can find inspiration in many different ways, but perhaps the best way is to dine out and see what other chefs are doing. Now that I’m back, those experiences have really given me a spark for the year ahead, to try out my own versions of dishes that I’ve tasted, and the new dishes they have inspired me to create. I was joined by my son Joe and, between us, we tried a lot of things that would be perfect for Kota Kai. These included sushi hand rolls, different versions of hot dogs (think ‘Asian inspired with grilled chillies’), Asian street food, lots of Korean food, as well as Mexican and even Japanese. We also found inspiration for Kota after visiting some of the area’s finer establishments.

Now that we’re back, I’m excited to announce that, at Kota, we have a lot of changes planned for the year ahead. In fact, I couldn’t be more eager to get back in the kitchen! My old friend, Ross Sloan, will be taking over the reins as Head Chef, after my friend and previous Head Chef of seven years, Pete Almond, moved back to Australia. Although I’m extremely sad to see Pete go, it is exciting to have someone like Ross coming in. Those of you who have eaten with Ross will know him for the excellent cuisine he has created in every place he’s worked, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming him to Kota. In terms of the menus themselves, there’s going to be a real focus on development over the next few months, with set lunches continuing but with a few extra small plates that will change weekly. Tasting menus will also be changing a lot, as we continue to evolve and remain super seasonal.

Over at Kota Kai, I’m excited to see some great new dishes being developed, many inspired from my recent travels. Aside from this, there is always something going on at Kai, with movie nights, Sunday roasts, Asian themed feast nights, as well as large parties for guests celebrating special occasions. We also have some special plans for Valentine’s Day.

To put it simply, we have an exciting year planned at both Kota and Kota Kai. As we continue to develop the flavours and menus of both restaurants, there are sure to be some memorable foodie moments to come, and I cannot wait to share them with our guests.

Kota Kai
Celtic House, Harbour Head, Porthleven TR13 9JY
01326 727707