© 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.
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.
As Chef Director of the Ashburton Cookery School, one of the UK’s top private cookery schools, Darrin Hosegrove has learned to wear a lot of hats. He has worked in many acclaimed fine dining restaurants in the UK and also held positions as a College Lecturer and Development Chef before joining the Ashburton Cookery School in 2004.
As well as regularly teaching at the School, Darrin also oversees the development of new courses, recipes and menus. Darrin’s passion for food and for sharing his formidable knowledge with others ensure that his demonstration at the Festival this year will be engaging, informative and a good time for all.
David is the bread guru behind the wood-fired oven at Manna From Devon Cooking School, just over the river from Dartmouth in Kingswear.
As a passionate baker and co-owner of acclaimed cookery school, Manna from Devon, he teaches a variety of bread courses that can turn the most yeast-averse bakers into regular experts of all things leavened in no time.
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.
To put it simply, Emily is passionate about food and it is in her kitchen where she feels most at home. Emily loves nothing more than delighting others through food, bringing friends and family together around the table.
Emily’s passion for the connection between food, a sense of place and storytelling is infectious, intriguing and comforting all at the same time. Her story is one which interweaves the sentimental tales of a childhood in Provence with her grandfather ‘Papa’ collecting strawberries from the fields to the hum of crickets in the warm sunshine, to the beautiful shores of Cornwall and golden sandy beaches. Experience and memories are translated into ingredients which collectively are heightening into simplistic, rustic dishes which are easily recreated at home.
Emily trained in London and France and her classical training forms the backbone of her cooking style. When Emily was 23 she moved to Cornwall where she successfully ran the Harbour Restaurant in Port Isaac. Emily was named best chef in the South West by Food magazine and was listed in the top 100 most influential women in the hospitality industry for two years running. Emily has been recognised by Michelin since 2016 and I appeared on Great British Menu representing the South West on BBC 2 in 2019 during the competition Emily made sure that her ethos of pared down, seasonal cooking came across in her menu.
Emily’s new restaurant opened at Watergate Bay on May 18th 2021. Her ethos being no faffing, no fussing, just beautiful food www.emilyscottfood.com
In May 2021 Emily was also commissioned by the Cabinet Office to create, cook and style a dinner for Royalty and the World Leaders for the G7 summit. This dinner took place at the Eden Project. This was an extraordinary event seeing Emily being the first woman to cook for the leaders of the western worlds. Meeting POTUS was a highlight for Emily. An opportunity Emily and her team will never forget.
Emily’s debut cookbook Sea & Shore Recipes & Stories from a Kitchen in Cornwall was published in June 2021 with Hardie Grant. Writing her first cookbook was a dream come true for Emily.
Emily has also been included in a new book released in September *The Female Chef* by Claire Finney and Lisa Seabrook Stories and Recipes from 31 women redefining the British Food scene.
Upcoming projects & events Emily has been commissioned to write the September chapter for Miranda York’s new book. Recipes for Delicious magazine, OFM, Guardian Feast and has appeared on BBC 2 with Rick Stein, BBC 1 Saturday Kitchen and V is for Veggie Channel 5. Emily’s second cookbook Time & Tide was published on July 6th 2023, published by Hardie Grant.
Emily lives in Cornwall with her partner Mark Hellyar, a winemaker. Emily has three children Oscar, Finn and Evie.
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.
Chef and owner of Coastal Cooking cookery school
Ian Jarmarkier is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable food lover who turned that love into a career. Originally self-taught, Ian lead the food and innovation centre for a major supermarket before setting up a B&B, restaurant, wedding venue and cookery school on the edge of Exmoor with his wife, Karen. After 13 years they downshifted, focussing on the cookery school, which has been located in Ilfracombe since 2020.
Ian has worked with a wide range of food and wine experts and celebrity chefs, and has cooked for a great number of well known names. He has contributed to books, made several TV and radio appearances and has written more recipes than he can count.
His passions are local, seasonal and wild food, bread making, and authenticity.
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!
Kathy Slack is a cook, veg grower and writer who worked in advertising agencies in London for more than a decade before burnout and depression took hold and she escaped to the Oxfordshire countryside, finding solace, and a new career, in the veg patch.
After learning the ropes at Daylesford Organic Farm, she became a full time writer and recipe developer, hosting supper clubs and cookery demonstrations with harvests from her garden, as well as food styling and developing recipes for brands and publications. She is a proud supporter of sustainable farming and a mental health advocate.
Kathy’s first book, From the Veg Patch (Ebury) was named one of the Top 25 cookbooks in 2021 by Delicious magazine and was shortlisted for The Guild of Food Writers Award for Best Book 2022.
She has a column in Borough Market’s award-winning magazine, Market Life, and a regular seasonal recipe feature in The Simple Things Magazine. She also writes the Substack newlsetter, Tales from the Veg Patch, is co-host of the gardening and nature podcast, Roots, Wings and Other Things, and a regular on BBC Radio Oxford.
Kathy won the Young British Foodie award and the Soil Association’s Best Blog award in 2019 and the Guild of Food Writers Award for online writing in 2021. Her podcast was a finalist for Best Audio Broadcast in the Garden Media Guild awards 2022.
You can find more of her writing at kathyslack.substack.com, where she creates seasonal, mostly-veggie recipes inspired by the veg patch and shares tales from the garden to reconnect you with nature.
LUKE VANDOR MACKAY
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, Director
“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.
Orlando Murrin has worked in practically every area of food – as editor, writer, chef and teacher. His latest books – Two’s Company and Two’s Company Simple – are focused on cooking for two. In early 2024 his first crime novel will be published – with a culinary twist.
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.
I am a former professional rugby player and life long lover of food. My passion for cooking comes a very close second to my passion for rugby and luckily for me they go hand in hand – you could say I taught myself to cook when I wasn’t at the bottom of a ruck! I’ve played rugby around the world and those times abroad have given me one valuable lesson: wherever you are and whatever culture you are in, food is the one thing you can rely on to bring people together.
Being a professional rugby player meant living with some of the other professional players, so I often had to create big, healthy and filling meals on a budget. My enthusiasm and enjoyment of cooking for the team encouraged me to become more creative and to widen my repertoire. So when I retired from rugby it felt a natural step to move on to buy a cookery school – and Philleigh Way was the result!
My love for cooking comes from my mum. She’s my culinary inspiration and from a very young age I enjoyed learning from her in the kitchen. As a family we spent a lot of time in France, which is where, as a child, food began to take on a deeper meaning for me and I gradually began to understand how food can embody national culture.
Developing a positive mental attitude was one of the main areas that we were coached in as professional sportsmen. It involved constantly focussing on improving our skills. I apply this ethos to my culinary life, and have sought out opportunities at Michelin-star restaurants, pubs, street food vendors and bakers. Talking to and observing the best in the business.
In a nutshell, I love food. I embrace the challenge that comes with sharing that enjoyment through my cookery school, my community projects and my family life. To have a passion in life is a marvellous thing. I’m so lucky to have it and l look forward to sharing it with you!