Cornwall LivingIssue #124
Inspired by the seasons
Chef Jude Kereama and Porthleven artist Maxine Greer find common ground through food and art in an exciting new collaboration.
If you are lucky enough to visit Kota, Jude Kereama’s fine dining restaurant in Porthleven, you’ll find a celebration of the best ingredients west Cornwall has to offer in more ways than you might be expecting. It’s a well-worn phrase that the first taste is with the eyes so it makes sense that the artworks on the walls of Kota aren’t images of the beautiful Cornish coast. Rather than the silver of the glitter line of sun on sea you’ll find the silver of sardines and mackerel and the orange of muscular crabs. These impressive paintings are the result of a collaboration between Chef Jude Kereama and artist in residence, Maxine Greer.
“Max brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field and has had a lot of success and accolades along the way,” Jude explains. “So, when she approached me with the excellent idea of being the artist in residence at Kota restaurant, I jumped at the chance. It is after our first meeting we decided a seasonal change of artwork on our walls would reflect the changing of seasonality and ingredients we use on our menus. This gave us a chance to change the colour palette on our walls as the seasons changed too. Max went away with an idea in her head of what she wanted to create. I was absolutely thrilled to see what Max had produced for our first collaboration which was based on seafood we use in the restaurant. Each piece of art is measured for all the spaces on the walls, and some are of giant show-stopping proportions that use every bit of space possible. I could not have been happier with the result.”
As you enter Kota you are greeted by a procession of John Dories, each with a signature spot on their body. Next prawns, a massive langoustine and, as you turn the corner, a pair of giant mackerel that shimmer like the ocean. The experience is multi-sensory, immersive – a visual feast on the plate as well as on the walls. “The residency has started with the sea and what feeds us from it. There is more common ground between what a chef and a visual artist do than you might imagine,” Maxine reflects. “Jude’s work is influenced by his surroundings and the seasons, he is drawn to colour and form and all those connections that creatives make between things which inspire them. It’s different but in a lot of ways, it’s the same.”
Maxine lets us in on her discussions with Jude about the importance of how food is sourced and what’s involved in our food industry: “Growing my own vegetables feels like a small step towards my own food production. I’m inspired by what’s in my garden and getting a take on what a chef would do is exciting and feeds into the work. As we move through the seasons the produce changes and so will the walls of Kota – expect to see leafy greens and ruby radishes.”
“What I love is how we have created a more immersive feel to the dining experience that we had not had before,” Jude adds. “The artwork reflects the creativity of the kitchen, and the customers really do take time to look at all the paintings and it certainly gets them talking. Our latest dish was inspired by the crab on our wall; Cornish crab, pickled cucumber, radishes, green gazpacho and herb salad.”
As two award-winning creatives in their respective fields merge their talents in a wonderful show of artistic interpretation alongside the most divine culinary experience in the heart of Porthleven, it’s only too easy to see, with a view of the nearby harbour from a seat at Kota, exactly what this wonderful county has to offer.
Kota & Kota Kai