© Ed Ovenden
Meet the Chefs
“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.
Cantina Chef at the Seahorse
Ben started cooking in Bristol, from there he worked at the Seahorse before embarking on several years of discovery cooking in Australia. Ben moved to London and joined the opening team of “Sabor” ,Nieves Barrigan’s celebrated Mayfair restaurant where they were awarded their first Michelin star.
Ben re joined Jake at the Seahorse where he cooks for clients in the Cantina, the private room at the seahorse and alongside Jake in the main Kitchen.
Chef & Food Writer
Charlotte Pike and is a UK based food writer, cookery teacher, chef and occasional broadcaster.
Charlotte is the author of five cookery books which have won and been shortlisted for leading International and UK based book awards. Charlotte is currently the Chair of the Guild of Food Writers.
Charlotte is one of the UK’s leading independent cookery teachers and teaches classes at schools around the UK as Executive Chef Tutor, and teaches a wide range of consumer and corporate classes on a weekly basis. She is also Founder and Director of Field & Fork School, a food education social enterprise.
Charlotte is a is a graduate of the Ballymaloe Certificate Course and is a Chef Ambassador for Slow Food in the UK and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. She runs a hugely popular catering company, Charlotte’s Kitchen, cooking for high profile clients, and cooking for weddings and parties all over the UK and Europe.
Elly Wentworth, runner up of MasterChef The Professional 2016, is now the new Head Chef of The Angel – Taste of Devon here in Dartmouth.
Elly will be joining the team at The Angel this September after she wowed judges Marcus Wearing and Monica Galletti, who is still very much Elly’s mentor through her career.
It probably helped that Elly’s got no shortage of competition experience, though. She’s twice been named South West Young Professional Chef of the Year, also scooping the overall title the second time around. She was even taking part in the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts awards while she was competing on MasterChef (and went on to be one of only four chefs to be given an Award of Excellence).
With Elly as the Head Chef, The Angel will be looking to mentor female chefs in a very male dominated industry and with history of The Angel and the great success and leadership under Joyce Molineux they very much wanted the next chapter of The Angel to be led by one of the top female rising culinary stars
HENRY DIMBLEBY MBE
Henry Dimbleby is co-founder of Leon Restaurants, the not-for-profit Sustainable Restaurant Association, and the charity Chefs In Schools.
Henry Dimbleby was made lead non-executive board member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2018 and in June 2019 the Environment Secretary appointed him to lead the National Food Strategy. Henry co-founded the Leon restaurant chain in 2004, the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2009, the charity Chefs in Schools in2018 and co-authored The School Food Plan in2013. This set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.
Henry previously worked as a Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company where he advised businesses on strategy, performance improvement and organisational design. Before that he worked as a journalist on The Daily Telegraph and a chef at the Michelin-starred Four Seasons Inn on the Park
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
Jenny Chandler is a teacher, cook book author and consultant with experience and knowledge that has been gleaned over years of eating, researching, travelling and working as a cook. She is passionate about inspiring others to source, prepare and eat great food. Jenny also maintains a blog, “I’ve Mostly Been Eating”, for those of us who just can’t get enough of her recipes and kitchen insights.
Jenny trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine before spending a decade cooking around the Mediterranean.
Jenny teaches at her own school, Plum Cooking, in Bristol, at the Bertinet Kitchen in Bath, Divertimenti, Leith’s and Borough Market in London. Jenny also teaches at many leading cookery schools including Leith’s School of Food and Wine and regularly writes and demonstrates for Borough Market in London.
She is very passionate about getting more plants on plates, has written 2 books about pulses and currently leads culinary workshops for The Humane Society International focusing on sustainable catering.
Getting kids in the kitchen, creating a lifetime of good eating habits is another of Jenny’s goals with her most recent book “Cool Kids Cook”
Chef & Food Writer
Celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix is known for his original take on British gastronomy.
After 17 years as Chef Director at Caprice Holdings, he opened his first restaurant in 2008 – the distinguished HIX Oyster & Chop House in Farringdon. Following the success of Chop House Mark opened HIX Mayfair, HIX Soho and his chicken and steak concept restaurants Tramshed in Shoreditch, and Hixter Bankside. In autumn of 2015 Mark opened his first stand-alone bar in The Old Vic theatre, offering a late-night venue in Waterloo.
Mark and long-time friend Damien Hirst announced their collaboration on Pharmacy 2: colliding their two greatest passions, art and food. The restaurant in Vauxhall opened its doors on 23rd February 2016.
Outside of London in Mark’s native Dorset is HIX Oyster & Fish House and HIX Townhouse, a boutique hotel, both in Lyme Regis. Mark is frequently lauded as one of London’s most eminent restaurateurs with an unrivalled knowledge of ingredients with provenance. Mark has a weekly column in City AM, and is the author of a number of cookbooks on British cuisine.
Mark hosts an annual food festival in Lyme Regis, Food Rocks to showcase the best producers and suppliers in Dorset and surrounding areas.
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.
Chef, Food Writer
“Everything that is great about British cooking, growing, harvesting, catching, eating and drinking is represented here for the four wonderful days of the Dartmouth Food Festival every October. It is a festival that is loved by locals and visitors alike. We have a great friendly neighbourhood here and we all celebrate together with friends, family and visitors, it’s a party atmosphere from start to finish, I absolutely love it and love being a part of it!”.
Festival Advocate & Company Director
Looking out across the waters of the Bristol Channel would be Mitch Tonks’ first significant connection with the sea. He grew up with his mother in Weston-super-Mare. Just a few doors down the road lived his grandmother. It was in his grandmother’s kitchen that his earliest food memories would form. He recalls buckets of eels arriving at her back door, fished from the Rynes by the local children. The eels would win an hour’s reprieve swimming around in her sink before being chucked, boiled and jellied. Mitch would run errands for his grandmother. He’d return home from the fishmonger with shrimps, which he’d help to peel and prepare sandwiches with, which they would then devour together. These simple shared pleasures were the first small steps of a food journey that would take Mitch to culinary experiences all around the world. But home would always be the coastline of the south-west of England and the place where his fervour for seafood in particular would shape and resonate most profoundly.
Mitch has become one of the most respected and knowledgeable seafood people in the country and an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author in the process. His Seahorse restaurant has won the Observer’s ‘Best UK Restaurant’ gong; his Rockfish takeaway restaurant chain has twice claimed ‘Best Independent Restaurant’ at the National Fish & Chip Awards. Of his books, one of them – Fresh – scooped ‘Best Fish Book’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. And his achievements and influence have been further recognised with a nomination for Ernst & Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and inclusion in The Caterer’s prized ‘Top 100 Most Influential Foodies’ list.
Such accolades are an acknowledgement for a philosophy that is genuine and refreshing in a world where Michelin stars and viral social media campaigns so often steal the limelight: keep it simple and do something as well as you can possibly do it.
Each new day at The Seahorse, the Dartmouth quayside restaurant he co-owns and runs with his best friend Mat Prowse, begins as though it was their first. Acutely aware that they are only as good as the weather and climate and the food they source, they must rely on their kitchen team to treat those ingredients with care and respect and trust their front-of-house team to welcome each new customer into the restaurant with the warmth afforded to an old friend.
And so it is with each of the other restaurants under his stewardship – Rockfishes in Dartmouth, Torquay, Plymouth and Brixham, and the Spiny Lobster in Bristol. In Brixham, the restaurant stands proudly amongst the bustle and noise of the fish market, allowing the Rockfish chefs to see and hear the catch of the day, every day.
The recipes in his books are the recipes of his restaurants, dating right back to his debut FishWorks Cookbook, named after the original Bath-based restaurant which grew into an award-winning 13-site-strong chain. But these restaurant recipes belong to the home and to tradition, often inspired by his travels and by such legendary writers as Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson, and always informed by the best of what the local land and sea have to offer, embracing simplicity, freshness and flavour over everything else. Home is the ethos that underpins every aspect of his restaurant business. He wants people to walk into a place and they feel like they belong there, a restaurant that knows everyone.
His fifth cookbook is the absolute embodiment of this philosophy, featuring the people who produce, source and supply his restaurant, the cultures and traditions that pass recipes down from generation to generation and the simple wonders of the ingredients themselves. The Seahorse: The Restaurant and its Recipes was published in June 2015.
On TV he’s known for his ten-part fishing series with Matt Dawson and appearances on Saturday Kitchen and Market Kitchen. He is a consultant for the menus on the distinguished Pullman trains run by Great Western Railway and also to a number of brilliant national restaurants, including Hawksmoor in London. He is a champion of sustainability and driven by a strong belief that the South West coast is Britain’s Seafood Coast and produces some of the finest seafood in the world.
He is committed to constantly giving back to the community that has given him so much. He has embarked on an academy scheme in partnership with South Devon College to help train the next generation of aspiring chefs and to supporting the local fishing industries. On matters of UK fishing, sustainability and supply, his is arguably one of the most erudite and credible voices out there.
“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
“I’ve been to dozens and dozens of food festivals, on islands, up mountains, underwater (I made that last one up) but there is none as delightful and picturesque as Dartmouth. The harbour setting – stalls draped along the waterfront – is beautiful and unusual, and gives the festival a unique atmosphere. I also think it is the friendliest festival, with festival goers in a really good mood”
Orlando Murrin is a highly experienced food writer and editor, based in Exeter.
During a varied career in food, he has been a magazine editor, hotelier and in September published ’Two’s Company’, a book of recipes serving two, for couples, friends and flatmates.
STEIN Group Head Chef
Stephane spent his childhood between Brittany and Paris and developed a love for cooking at a young age inspired by his uncle’s travels around the world, returning with new dishes and stories from his adventures.
He started an apprenticeship at the age of 16 at two Michelin starred Sully D’ Auteuil, before moving on to Le Vieux Berlin which specialised in game. His keen interest to learn a new language led him to England in 1989 where he worked in London’s Roof Restaurant at the Hilton on Park Lane. Stephane was also instrumental in the opening of some of London’s most distinguished restaurants, working alongside leading chefs of the time including Michael Croft at Mirabelle and Martin Webb at Quaglino’s.
In 1994, Stephane returned to France where he worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Prunier in Paris for two years. His career has taken him around the globe on the world’s most famous cruise liner, the QE2, as well as to Dublin where he worked with Patrick Guilbaud in his self-named two Michelin-starred restaurant.
After years of travelling around the world, Stephane and his wife made the decision to move to Cornwall to settle down. After just 6 months working with Rick Stein, Stephane was promoted to head chef at The Seafood Restaurant where he remained for over 20 years. Working closely with Rick, he helped to develop new menus and lead the restaurant team.
In 2019, Stephane took on a new role in the business as Group Chef. In which, he shares his skills and knowledge across our kitchen teams as well as hosting dinners in our restaurants.
His passion for cooking is shared with a love of the fresh Cornish produce that is available to him in this part of the South West, as well as great local suppliers.
When not in the kitchen, he can be found travelling the world, watching Rugby and relaxing in St. Issey with his wife and three daughters.