Cornwall LivingIssue #123
On the map
Jude Kereama considers Cornwall’s place on the world foodie map, exploring the wider hospitality scene and the future for Cornwall’s mainstay industry.
After many years of being known for buckets, spades, and bad food, Cornwall is now positioned as the best county on the UK foodie scene. Anyone who has visited recently will know that top restaurants and cafés can be found all over the north and south coasts. This, in turn, has led to a boost for hospitality and tourism.
Rick Stein helped put Cornwall on the international stage and he has now been joined by a whole host of talented chefs, producers and natural ingredients that have cemented our place on the world foodie map. Everyone comes down to Cornwall looking forward to a fish supper, wholesome garden produce, and the incredible farmers and butchers here, like Phillip Warrens. And don’t forget the hunt for the best pasty…my personal favourites are Ann’s!
As a chef/restaurateur, I am always proud of what we can produce in this county. With the huge amount of talented and passionate chefs that we seem to possess, we are attracting more and more foodie followers that are eager to come and fill our restaurants, accommodation, attractions and shops.
Hospitality itself is a huge employer in Cornwall, and is a major contributor to the Cornish economy. As we look to the future, I am hoping that we can attract more people to join our industry, as it is something I am completely passionate about. I still go to work with a smile on my face and look forward to all the challenges that may come my way on a daily basis! Most of all, I look forward to cooking food that I love and hanging out with my staff. Gone are the days of too long hours and being poorly treated. Also gone, are the days of nasty chefs. Tasty staff meals and staff drinks help to boost morale and, at least at Kota, we like to think we create a lovely working space in which all our employees feel that they can thrive and learn. Once upon a time, it was important for young budding chefs to move to the ‘big smoke’ of London to gain credentials on their CVs. Nowadays, there is a plethora of high-classed kitchens and chefs to work with in Cornwall, which means you don’t need to do that anymore. I do think it is important to travel and dine in different cities and countries, simply because it allows you to gain a better understanding of food, but the need to move from the county is not so important.
Looking to the future of food in Cornwall and it’s hard to put a finger exactly on what that might look like – food trends come and go – but I really do believe that the produce of this great county should dictate what we have on our menus. And with the rising costs of bills affecting us all, ensuring that we draw on local, seasonal ingredients is going to be essential in keeping costs down. In terms of the menus themselves, we have seen a huge rise in the cost of proteins, and I can only see that we will all eat less protein than we used to. I believe, firmly, that it is better to have a small portion of quality meat than to have a huge chunk poorly farmed with bad practises. There will also be a rise of vegetarian diners, which we have already experienced in our own restaurants. This is never a problem for us, and we even offer nine-course vegan menus if people book 24 hours in advance.
Unfortunately, hospitality has taken a real hit in recent times, in part due to the lack of enthusiastic staff who have never been more important, but also due to rising food prices, energy hikes and other overheads. I am, however, confident that many of us can ride these bad times and keep going in ensuring that Cornwall will continue to lead the way as the top foodie county. As our mainstay industry, it is imperative here in Cornwall that we continue to draw tourists in to our county.