Discover the wild food of St Ives Bay

It’s the start of a new season at Porthminster, and we’re looking forward to rediscovering the wild food of the seashore and coastal path as nature comes to life this spring. No doubt as our understanding and knowledge of every inch of our surroundings is fine-tuned, we’ll be introducing new dishes inspired by our finds as the year progresses. We hope you’ll come and see what we’re creating!

The aptly-named Navelwort....

The aptly-named Navelwort….

Once again in 2014 we are offering the chance to join us and Caroline Davey of Fat Hen, local forager and ecologist, for a Forage and Feast experience. A day of exploration providing a unique insight into the wild food of St Ives Bay, these events start and finish at the Café, and involve a guided walk and a three course lunch featuring foraged ingredients.

Spring dates are as follows:

March 3rd

March 17th

Prices £50pp

Please book via the Fat Hen website.

Fat Hen pioneered foraging and cookery courses when it was launched more than 5 years ago.  Having recently returned from maternity leave, Caroline is relaunching with an impressive new cookery school at her renovated barn near Penzance. Specialist wild food courses in fish, game, seaweed & wild Italian cookery are on the curriculum. There will be a chance for everyone to get involved, including a fun foraging and cooking club for children, kayaking and cycling foraging routes, and gourmet wild food weekends.

Caroline has inspired many people to begin using foraged ingredients

Caroline has inspired many people to begin using foraged ingredients

However Caroline is also happy to be returning to work with the team at Porthminster for Forage and Feast 2014. “Porthminster is a stunning and inspiring location. Micheal and his team are dedicated wild food enthusiasts, keen to make the most of their unique surroundings. The food they create with the seasonal ingredients we find has really impressed me every time we have done an event together. It’s very creative but also refined.”

Michael Smith, Executive Chef at Porthminster added, “alot of the things that we forage along the seashore work inherently well with the delicious fresh fish and shellfish of St Ives Bay. Small touches can really enliven dishes, adding exciting colour and fresh flavours. These wild foodstuffs are out there waiting to be discovered and can easily be used at home.”

Please book early as spaces are filling up quickly. More Forage and Feast dates are planned for the autumn.

Searching for seaweed....

Searching for seaweed….

Here’s to 2014!

2013 is now over, and what a year it was.

In the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn we brought you our Forage and Feast Days in collaboration with Caroline Davey of Fat Hen. The great success of these coastal forays to uncover the wild food of St Ives Bay will be built on in 2014, with new dates now available to book.

With the St Ives Food and Drink Festival and the launch of our cookbook in May, the season got off to a fantastic start, followed by a long, hot summer in which guests on the terrace basked in sunshine day after day.

Other developments included the chance to experience a laid-back morning start in one of Cornwall’s most stunning locations, with the introduction of our breakfast menu – returning again later this year.

The year was book-ended with awards – The Food Mag Reader’s Awards in January for Best Cafe, and runner-up in the Cornwall Tourism Awards in the Best Restaurant category in November.

All in all, 2013 was one of our busiest and most successful years ever, and we are very proud of all our staff for what they have achieved, and for still wearing a smile at the end of each day!

We will be closed for our annual break from 6th Jan, reopening on the 14th Feb. The best way to book a table for 2014 is online, where you can also sign up to our network to receive news of events.

Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you again in 2014!

‘The New West Country Cook Book’ Launched

On Monday 2nd December, a ‘culinary collective’ of the South West’s top chefs gathered at Watergate Bay for the launch of photographer David Griffen’s The New West Country Cook Book.

The book aims “to showcase the region’s culinary talent and high quality produce through beautiful photography and home-cooked recipes.”

wccb-mick-smith-01David has been documenting the burgeoning food scene in the South West for over 10 years, becoming an influential figure in the industry himself along the way. “Working with David is always exciting and reassuring in equal measure,” said Porthminster Executive Chef Michael Smith. “He is knowledgeable and passionate about food. David’s work shows off each chef’s creativity and individuality, which is what makes this collection of images and recipes so exciting.”

David explained how he first dreamed up the idea of bringing the culinary talent of the South West together. “The idea for the book came from watching the chefs working together at festivals and demonstrations; in quiet moments backstage they were talking as a group and to each other and sharing ideas and experiences – there was a real sense of mutual support.”

The book features recipes from 17 chefs including Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Caines, Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, Tom Kerridge, Chris Eden and Porthminster’s Michael Smith.

Focusing on key ingredients that can be found or foraged locally, the recipes emphasise the flavours of food in a uniquely West Country style, all of which is captured through stunning photography.

wccb-mick-smith-02Nathan Outlaw, who has won two Michelin stars for his restaurant in Rock, Cornwall, said: “Over the last ten years the camaraderie amongst the chefs of the South West has increased. I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking with other chefs, and I think it is good for the chefs who work with me to see other styles. It’s great to have these extra influences in the kitchen.”

David added: “The brief given to each chef was the same – no fancy techniques, just honest home cooking, with a focus on the region’s produce.”

Tom Kerridge, who grew up in Gloustershire and runs the two Michelin starred Hand Flowers in Marlow said: “The standard of cooking in the South West over the last few years has risen dramatically, with the increase of a number of home grown South Western chefs opening their own places or becoming head chefs in their own right in some fantastic venues.”

west-country-cook-book-cover

 The New West Country Cookbook is now available to buy at Porthminster Beach Cafe, alongside our very own cookbook.

StreetSmart 2013 – Time to make a difference

StreetSmart is a national campaign to help the homeless through voluntary £1 donations from those dining in the country’s top restaurants during November and December. Porthminster Beach Café is taking part for the first time this year, in what is hoped will be a record-breaking campaign in Cornwall.

All money raised in Cornwall will stay within the county, as administration costs are paid by national StreetSmart sponsor Deutsche Bank.  Therefore every pound donated goes solely to the three benefitting local charities – St Petroc’s Society, the Cornwall Women’s Refuge Trust and the Cornish branches of Foodbank. Need is greater than ever, with foodbanks in particular now in high demand, and everyone involved is hoping that the public will get behind the campaign and help us make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people this winter.

Front of house manager Rebecca Symons said she hopes it is a successful campaign. “In December we are very busy in the run up to Christmas so hopefully we  manage to raise a good amount,” she said. “I think it will be a good thing – I don’t think people will mind donating £1.”

So, if your visiting us over the next few months please look out for table cards with more information. Your voluntary contribution is a very easy way to have a positive impact on troubled lives this festive season.

 

News Flash – Porthminster Shortlisted For ‘Best Restaurant’!

On the 8th October, the finalists in this year’s Cornwall Tourism Awards were announced and Porthminster Beach Café is very pleased to say that we have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Restaurant’ category. This means that we will either achieve bronze, silver or even gold at the awards ceremony on the 7th November.

We were particularly happy to learn that we were shortlisted from a record number of entries, following a rigorous judging process involving a panel of industry professionals. Competition is tough though, as we are up against The Herring at Mawgan Porth and Outlaw’s at Rock for the top spot.

From the official press release:

“Presented by Visit Cornwall, the Cornwall Development Company tourism service, the Awards have a double purpose as Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall, explains: “Cornwall is full of some amazing businesses who are continually developing and improving their offering. By recognising and rewarding this, the Awards celebrate and showcase excellence which in turn inspires quality across the industry.”

Thank you to all our fantastic staff for helping us get this far. Please keep everything crossed for us for the 7th November!

chloe

 

Food Mag Readers Awards 2014

The annual food Reader Awards are voted for exclusively by the public, so they are a great reflection what is really going on right now in the food and drink scene across the South West.

Food Reader awards logo

In 2013 we were lucky enough to scoop the Best Cafe award, and we promised you we were going to try even harder to impress you this year! So, if you’ve enjoyed visiting us, please take a moment to vote for Porthminster Beach Cafe, either as your favourite restaurant or cafe, we’re not fussy. There are also awards for the best wine list and, don’t tell him we said this, but isn’t it time Michael Smith won Best Chef?!

Voting has opened for the shortlist and closes on November 21st. Then on December 1st the  finalists will be announced in each category and you’ll be able to vote for them until the end of January.

Ladies and gentlemen, cast your votes!

Autumn Forage & Feast Dates Announced

Last spring saw the introduction of our popular ‘Forage and Feast’ days at Porthminster Beach Café, in collaboration with ecologist and forager Caroline Davey of Fat Hen. The opportunity to discover the diverse wild food of St Ives Bay returns this autumn, as new dates have been announced.

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On the 4th and 18th November Caroline will once again be guiding small groups, exploring the hedgerows, footpaths and shoreline in the immediate vicinity of the Café. The route reflects the daily incursions of the Porthminster chefs, led by Michael Smith, as they harvest the bounty afforded by their unique location.

Participants will meet at the Café for coffee, before beginning their foray along the beach and coastal path. Botanical expert Caroline will guide the group through the secrets of harvesting delicious wild food full of flavour, whilst keen forager Michael will explain what his chefs look out for as they gather plants, herbs and seaweed from their immediate environment.

“Autumn provides a rewarding range of tastes and textures for the foraging enthusiast” says Caroline, who will be looking out for things like pennywort, sorrel, wood sorrel, nettles, pepper dulse, laver and cow parsley. “This day course is perfect for anyone keen to discover the amazing produce growing all around them, and how to use even just a small touch of these free ingredients to transform the way they cook at home.”

Once back at the Beach Café, Michael will cook up a feast. Using the results of the morning forage, he will create a three course meal. Participants will have the opportunity to see him in action, and learn about the techniques which bring those seasonal ingredients together. This late lunch will be served to the group in the café, overlooking the beach.

Foraging 024

“We forage daily around Porthminster Beach at all times of year,” explained Michael. “Each new season brings its rewards. At the onset of autumn our cooking turns towards warming, earthy flavours and foraging plays a key role in that seasonal shift. Harvesting food from our surroundings has become an integral part of what we do here at the beach and we’re keen to share our passion and give some of our secrets away.”

To book, visit www.fathen.org where you can find a booking form under ‘Courses and Events’.

Course dates – 4th and 18th November, meet at the Café at 10am.

£50pp including coffee and pastries, a two hour forage and a three course lunch.