© Ed Ovenden
Meet the Chefs
Over the years, Chef Ash Hamilton and his team have worked hard to bring original concepts to Brixham including modern brunch and lunch, supper clubs and their famous #donutporn whilst maintaining a laid back welcoming vibe steeped in the team’s love for rock music.
Now a Devon staple, The Curious Kitchen (‘TCK’) has won multiple awards and received rave press and public acclaim due to its high standards of food and drink but also for its community input including Ash’s Cooking with Ash online series where he teaches how to take a £25 budget and feed a family of 4 for 5 days (lunch and dinner).
“I founded a catering event business that makes life time memories on long tables. One of 7 kids, I grew up around long tables and conversation. My career has always been motivated by the maternal instinct in cooking. I have worked with the likes of Ottolenghi, Honey & Co, Jamie Oliver and Berber & Q. They are more importantly now my friends. My businesses challenge and disrupt the hospitality sector and our Canteen concept is going to change the world.”
Ben Quinn is known for his flavour-drenched, colourful food – often cooked over live fire – served to the centre of communal tables guaranteed to be packed with an appreciative crowd of food lovers. Ben dishes out ‘experience dining’ with all the creativity, flare and memorability which that lofty terms implies; he is a force to be reckoned with and not just for his culinary skills.
Ben worked at top restaurants, including Fifteen Cornwall, and as a freelance consultant before deciding to take a non-traditional career path in the hospitality industry. He co-founded Woodfired Canteen which, in a few short but intense years, has built a cult following for hosting dinners in special locations – think spectacular clifftops, bucolic barns and idyllic gardens – eat your heart out Instagram!
Canteen, at Wheal Kitty Workshops near St Agnes, is HQ for Ben and his team. This industrial-style prep kitchen and shared workspace is open to the public every day and was described by Olive Magazine as Cornwall’s hottest new opening when it launched in 2017. Grab a mug of Origin Coffee, browse Ben’s favourite cookbooks and store cupboard ingredients, and enjoy a delicious plate of food while chatting to fellow foodies or catching up on your emails.
Beware though, spend too long with Ben and you will succumb to his infectious enthusiasm for positive change. “It’s about more than plates of food,” Ben explains, as he talks eloquently about building a catering company with a social purpose, putting people before profits. And it’s more than just talk – Woodfired Canteen have developed event concepts with the likes of ShelterBox, the RNLI, Cool Earth and CLIC Sargent.Passionate, articulate and ambitious, Ben is taking no prisoners in his bid to shake up the hospitality industry in Cornwall and beyond.
CHARLIE RAMSDALE & DAN TEAGE
Charlie Ramsdale and Daniel Teage took on the restaurant at Sharpham Vineyard in 2018, and ran it with great success for 4 years, until the relocation of the winery to Sandridge Barton.
Felicity Cloake is the award-winning author of the Guardian’s long-running How to Make the Perfect column as well as six books, the most recent of which, One More Croissant for the Road, was shortlisted for the Fortnum and Mason food book of the year award. Her next book, Red Sauce Brown Sauce: A British Breakfast Odyssey is out in June, published by Mudlark. She loves kippers, is ambivalent about baked beans, and prefers her bacon sandwiches with marmalade and mustard.
Guy Singh-Watson has over the last 30 years taken Riverford from one man and a wheelbarrow delivering homegrown organic veg to friends, to a national veg box scheme delivering to around 80,000 customers a week. Tired of meetings, brands and the assumption that greed is our predominant motivation, Guy converted the business to employee ownership in 2018, using the proceeds to buy a small farm and return to growing organic vegetables.
In common with many of Riverford’s new co-owners, Guy is an advocate of using business to shape a part of the world, however small, to be kinder, more considerate and sustainable; more like the world most of us want to live in. His weekly newsletters connect people to the farm with refreshingly honest accounts of the trials and tribulations of producing organic food, and the occasional rant about farming, ethical and business issues he feels strongly about
Jamie Rogers brings you the the best of South Hams larder skilfully prepared, matched with the perfect wines and cocktails, bringing you a unforgettable dining experience.
He began his career in catering at the age of 12, washing dishes and helping with some prep at The Cricket Inn, Beesands. He later worked as an apprentice with the Tanner brothers at Tanners and the Barbican Kitchen before taking a position as sous chef at the Glassblowing House on the Barbican at Plymouth. After a spell at the South Sands Hotel at Salcombe, Jamie moved to Langdon Court Hotel in 2013, initially as sous chef but he was promoted to head chef in 2014.
Later that year, Jamie entered BBC MastcefChef reaching the quarter finals and after entering South West Chef of the Year three times, won the Professional Chef category in 2015, also being awarded the title of overall South West Chef of the Year.
After a short spell at The Wardroom in Salcombe, Jamie opened his own restaurant, Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers, in Kingsbridge, Devon in the spring of 2018.
Chef & Food Writer
Jane started cooking whilst at Leeds University and decided to take it up as a career. She was lucky enough to work for George Perry Smith at Riverside in Helford, followed by a stint at The Carved Angel in Dartmouthunder Joyce Molyneux, whom she sites as one of her major influences.
Jane’s time at The River Café in London also gave her invaluable experience and started her love of all things Italian. After working in various London establishments Jane went “off Piste “to the South Pacific where she worked and lived for 7 years.
On her return she started working for Riverford, first setting up the staff canteen, then local school meals and finally was responsible for the style of food and service at the Field Kitchen along with Sam.
Jane also wrote the recipes for the two Riverford Farm Cook books – the first of which gained two Guild of Food Writers awards.
Jane is now living in Kingsbridge with her son David, when she’s not in Puglia!
Chef & Food Writer
Celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix is known for his original take on British gastronomy.
Mark is frequently lauded as one of Britain’s most eminent restaurateurs with an unrivalled knowledge of ingredients with provenance. He is an award-winning author and food writer with 12 cookbooks to his name, the latest of which, Hooked, regales stories of fishing from his childhood through to the present day. Previously a regular contributor to City AM and GQ, Mark was previously the food writer for The Independent on Saturday for 14 years. He now has a regular column in The Telegraph, Dorset Magazine and Marshwood Vale and a weekly cookery show on Lyme Bay Radio.
After 17 years with Caprice Holdings, he left his Chef Director role in 2007 to open HIX Restaurants which spread across London’s West-end and City as well as his native Dorset, until they closed in 2020 as a result of Covid-19
Mark opened The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis in July 2020 as well as launching his HIX Oyster & Fish Truck in Morcombelake, selling wet fish and seafood from Lyme Bay Reserve fishermen. He opened The Fox Inn pub in Corscombe in December 2020 which focuses on local meat and game dishes with it’s own Kitchen Garden supplying the chefs with fresh vegetables and herbs every day.
Mark received an MBE for his services to hospitality in the New Years’ Honours list 2017.
Chef & Food Writer
Matt presents Food Unwrapped on Channel 4. Matt, Jimmy Doherty and Kate Quilton, present the food and science series that travels the world to lift the lid on what’s really in the food we eat. He is the lead presenter of Saturday Kitchen on BBC1, along with John Torode. This 90-minute cookery show is broadcast live on Saturday mornings and is a well-established favourite on the BBC.
Matt has always loved cooking, so when he was unable to further his ambition of a career in the RAF, he returned to his first love – Food. Having completed a diploma course in London with Leith’s School of Food & Wine, Matt Tebbutt set his sights on some of the best restaurants in the UK, with a view to acquiring the breadth of experience that would set him up to run his own successful restaurant. A true baptism of fire followed in the form of a traineeship with renowned Michelin starred chef, Marco Pierre White, working at The Oak Room and then The Criterion. Matt later moved to the kitchens of Chez Bruce, working under the tutelage of Bruce Poole, master of classic French food and leading advocate of affordable excellence. Working at Clarke’s, Sally Clarke’s Kensington restaurant, Matt was exposed to the art of bread making at one of the most skilled bakeries in the UK.
One of his strongest influences, clearly evident in his recipes and menus is Alastair Little, pioneer of the non-stuffy, high-quality eatery and renowned for revolutionary freshness and flavour. Matt worked with Alastair at his Lancaster Road and Soho restaurants, celebrated for its no-nonsense British cooking, with a Northern Italian twist. Matt is a passionate exponent of Modern British cooking, using only the freshest, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients within honest recipes designed to highlight the quality of those ingredients.
He owned and ran The Foxhunter, an award-winning restaurant in Monmouthshire, for thirteen years until 2015. Here, the daily-changing menu featured an exciting range of wild and foraged foods from the local countryside and sea-shore. He is now a consultant for bars and restaurants including his new venture Schpoons & Forx in the Hilton hotel, Bournemouth.
Matt presented Market Kitchen with Rachel Allen, Tom Parker-Bowles, Amanda Lamb and Matthew Fort. This UKTV food show was an audience favourite for 5 years. It was followed by Market Kitchen’s Big Adventure. Matt also appeared in the BBC productions Great British Menu, Great British Food Revival and Great British Waste Menu. He is a regular contributor to Waitrose Kitchen magazine and other food publications and he has co-presented several cookery shows on the Food Network with Lisa Faulkner. In July 2013 he hosted the cookery demonstrations at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Coronation celebrations.
“I really enjoyed taking part in the Dartmouth Food Festival, it was very well organised with so much going on there was always something to do or somebody to see. …I even managed to to some hobnobbing with suppliers and chefs. With the festival spread out over the majority of the town centre it gives a great sense of community and involves so many local business’. I look forward to being part of it again in the future.”
Nick Evans grew up in East Sussex and from a young age worked the land around their home with his brother and father growing everything from potatoes to a small vineyard. It was fate that brought Nick to work in kitchens, covering for his brother as a kitchen porter when he fell ill.
Nick never looked back. Whilst studying for a degree in hospitality, he worked a year at a variety of Rick Stein’s businesses, learning a great deal about French classical cooking under Stephane Delourme at The Seafood Restaurant. Nick returned as Chef de Partie in 2007 and over the next 6 years worked his way up to Senior Sous Chef, before joining the team at St Petroc’s Bistro in 2014 as Head Chef. In 2016, Nick took on his current role, becoming Head Chef Lecturer at Rick Stein’s Cookery School.
Photograph by David Griffin
Bristol-born Olivia grew up in a family for whom food was a big part of daily life and their Italian heritage. She cites her grandfather, who was a chef, as one of her greatest influences.
Olivia took an intense chef training course at Bournemouth College before undertaking work experience at London’s St Albans and The Wolseley. Olivia then worked at the prestigious Wright Brothers, Galvin Bistro and under Angela Harnett at the Michelin starred Murano.
Returning to Bristol, Olivia opened Adelina Yard in 2015 with her partner and co chef patron Jamie Randall. The restaurant now has 2 AA Rosettes and shortly after their first anniversary was awarded a place in the Top 100 restaurants guide.
Chef & Food Writer
Showing the Dough who is boss since 1980
Originally trained as a baker in Brittany, Richard has been in England since 1988 and is now very much an Anglophile. With 20 years experience in the kitchen, baking, consulting and teaching behind him, Richard moved to Bath in 2005 to open The Bertinet Kitchen cookery school. His classes attract customers from all over the world to come to learn to bake with him. Richard was named as BBC Food Champion of the Year 2010 for his work on baking.
Founded in response to requests from cookery school customers and locals to buy the bread being made on classes, The Bertinet Bakery originally opened as a pop up above the cookery school in 2008. It now operates from 2 production bakeries in Bath and London supplying its own shop in Bath together with wholesale customers across the South in addition to Waitrose who stock Bertinet Bread nationwide.
Richard’s first book Dough was published in 2005 and was awarded the IACP Best Cookery Book of the Year 2006, the Julia Child Award for the Best First Book, the James Beard Award for Best Book Baking and Desserts and The Guild of Food Writers Award for Best First Book. It has been translated into 15 languages and is sold in over 20 countries. Crust published in 2007, was given a World Gourmand Award for the Best British book on Baking and a James Beard Award for Food Photography. Crumb is Richard’s 6th book and was published in February 2019.
Chef & Food Writer
ROMY GILL MBE
Romy Gill MBE….Chef , food writer , author and presenter
Chef Romy Gill MBE is a British/Indian chef, food/travel writer and broadcaster based in the south-west of England. She was the owner and head chef at Romy’s Kitchen. In 2016 she was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list.
Romy is one of the regular and much-loved chefs on BBC1’s Ready Steady Cook and has appeared on many other TV programmes, including Sunday Brunch, BBC’s The One Show, Country Life, Celebrity MasterChef, The Hairy Bikers’ Comfort Food, James Martin’s Saturday Morning and Celebrity Pointless. Romy is also a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. She has also become a regular on Channel 4’s Packed Lunch. She recently was part of the Today show at NBC in America.
Romy writes regularly for BBC Food, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times and Ocado Magazine. She also regularly contributes to national and international publications including The New York Times and Food 52. She travels across the UK and abroad to food demos and conferences. in 2018 Romy was invited as a speaker at the Mad Symposium in Copenhagen. and to cook at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York.
She released her debut cookbook in September, 2019. Zaika – Vegan Recipes from India is. Her second book, On The Himalayan Trail, is out now and available from bookshops and online retailers
food writer & Chef
Food historian, writer and cook Sam Bilton has been intrigued by spices most of her life. Her first book on the history of gingerbread won a World Gourmand Cookbook award in 2021. She is a frequent contributor to national magazines, food festivals, television and radio. Fool’s Gold: A History of British Saffron is Sam’s second book.
Escaping London 15 years ago to move closer to the Family Farm in Blackawton Serin has played a large role in getting the Dartmouth Food Festival where it stands today. As Chef Director he helps co-ordinate all the food based events in the lead up and through the Festival weekend.
Our Festival Chef & Company Director
Serin started his time in Dartmouth opening the Anzac Street Bistro a much loved and successful bistro in the centre of Dartmouth but after 11 successful years Serin decided to have a change and set about a new business with old friend Simon Entwistle and Dartmouth Fine Foods was born.
Serin and Simon now offer bespoke Catering for any size event from a small Canapé party of 20 to Grand Weddings for 200 they also offer contract catering and are working on a line of top class ready meals for customers and businesses for re sale. With between them more than 40 years experience in different aspects of the catering trade Serin and Simon bring a whole heap of knowledge to the Food Festival and continue to steer it on a steady path.