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