Cornwall LivingIssue #128

Food for good

In light of this month’s cover feature, Jude Kereama discusses the importance of food in his own approach to winter wellbeing.

Seeking a dose of elemental therapy in Cornwall has never been easier, as we discovered in this issue’s cover feature. However, food must also play a big part in our pursuit of a feeling of wellness. Fortunately, Cornish food is some of the best in the country, which is why some of the UK’s best chefs choose to live and work here. Jude Kereama is one of them, owner of Porthleven’s Kota and Kota Kai, and through his careful curation of Cornish ingredients, he is able to offer a culinary experience that complements those of the body and soul that Cornwall’s elemental spas provide.

“A big part of what we cook in the restaurants definitely reflects in the way that we like to eat at this time of year,” says Jude. “With that in mind, we do tend to make sure that all of Cornwall’s seasonal ingredients are used in our dishes, which in turn are full of minerals and vitamins that we all need to stay healthy. Nowadays, we all know that we need to eat a healthy balanced meal for us to cope with our busy lives, which is why our tasting menus are a balance of all the ingredients available but with quite a light touch. But at the end of the night,” he adds, “there is still a cheeky treat of a dessert.”

What about Jude himself? As a busy restaurateur, does he find it difficult at this time of year to keep himself energised? And if so, how does he overcome it? “I apply a lot of what I believe in the restaurants to what I eat at home,” he explains. “I try and eat light and healthy most of the time. Breakfast is normally a light granola, berries, probiotic yoghurt, nuts, and a slice of Vicky’s Multigrain Bread toasted with a smear of salted butter.

“Lunch,” he continues, “is normally a light salad, or sardines on toast, fruit, hummus, or leftovers from the night before. I normally have a piece of 70% dark chocolate and coffee in the afternoon to stave off the hunger for a while. Dinner can be anything, really, but there is always a roast one night, and soup noodles on another. Otherwise, it could be anything, provided that it has a lot of vegetables with rice, potatoes, pasta, or pulses. I tend to eat as healthily as I can during the week, but then when I go out to a restaurant, I am famous for being a scoffer!”

With the days getting shorter and the winter on the way, Jude tries to get out as much as he can. “It is way too easy to slip into hibernation mode and lock yourself away and stay warm and snuggly in your house. I will try and run most days in the winter to get my boost of vitamin D from whatever sunlight is still around. This makes a huge difference to my mental wellbeing, and gives me a massive boost for the day. I have also taken up road cycling, so that should be a nice new hobby to get me out on the coming winter days. Sometimes, though, something as simple as a blustery walk on a stormy day in Porthleven can be totally exhilarating!”

As winter sets in, Jude and his team at Kota are featuring a lot of the dishes from his past appearances on the BBC’s Great British Menu. “These,” he explains, “will be the warmer dishes that I have prepared on the show over the years, and it’s something the whole team are looking forward to. There is so much thought put into the dishes, so they have their work cut out!”

Meanwhile, Kota Kai will see the return of Asian nights, where there will be different menus, from different countries, on different weeks. “It is always well received and a fun night out,” says Jude. “We also have movie nights each week, allowing guests to sit in our lounge and have table service, watch a good old movie and dine at the same time.”

Sunday roasts are also making a comeback at Kota Kai for the autumn/winter season, and Jude explains that the restaurant will also be hosting live music, with Bloody Marys available to keep the winter chill at bay. In short, there are plenty of things happening over the coming months at the two restaurants, and whether it’s from his approach to wellbeing outside of work, or how he curates his menus at his two Porthleven restaurants, I think we could all benefit from taking a leaf out of Jude’s book as we seek to embrace the colder weather ahead.

Kota Restaurant