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Gelf Alderson

Gelf Alderson was instilled with a passion for food from a very early age as his mum was a fantastic cook.One of his earliest memories is ruining some of her more delicate doughs and pastries!Now he is at River Cottage HQ running the busy kitchens and cookery schools down on the farm and loving every minute.

He trained in a 5 star hotel, going to college once a week. It was a good place to train as it still approached food as it should be done; using whole carcasses and making everything from scratch so it was there he first picked up his butchery and fish monger skills. After two years Gelf moved on and decided to specialise in pastry and was fortunate enough to train under an excellent pastry chef who had worked at Michelin star level for thirty years. Gelf then moved to Stratford and worked for a small group of gastro pubs, all holding at least one rosette. He quickly moved up the ladder ending up as group head chef overseeing four kitchens. Next stop was a stint working for Martin Blunos, holder of two Michelin stars. This was an amazing experience and gave him the opportunity to earn his fine dining stripes.

Gelf finally arrived in Devon and knew almost straight away that the area was something special in the way of food. First he helped his old Executive chef to open a restaurant and spent a year successfully developing the business. He then moved into the ethical food sector working for an indoor ethical and sustainable food market and restaurant. After all of this he fancied a break, so went and worked for the National Trust. Whathe wasn’t expecting was to find a six and a half thousand acre estate of productive farm land connected to the estate with none of the produce coming into the kitchen. He spent the next three and half years changing that, working closely with the farmers themselves to develop two busy restaurants into being self-sufficient from the estate. 

By the time the opportunity arose to join the team at River Cottage HQ, Gelf had developed a Devon Ruby Red Beef farm, growing his own organic Maris Widgeon which was milled in his own 300 year old mill. He also had an organic dairy producing milk and cream; a community farm of 35 acres; 14 productive orchards producing award winning chutney, cider and honey; ten 1-acre market garden allotments as well as a supply of venison and game from the estate - shot as part of a larger conservation plan.