A Shucking Good Time!

A Shucking Good Time!

Last weekend I spent some time down in Falmouth watching chef demo’s and tasting fantastic street food! I also did some sample tasting and spoke to some of the local suppliers who had gathered to the tent situated in event square.

Demo’s included Arty William’s from The cove and Michelin star chef Chris Eden from Driftwood.

Granted.. I was only there on the Sunday (damn responsibilities) but I had a great time. St Michael’s Hotel and Spa were definitely the starts of the show, with there Oyster Bar, Champagne Bar and Fresh Seafood Kitchen in the corner of the main marquee area.

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There was one down side for me though.. I hate Oysters!

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Oysters.. ew. – But beautifully prepared and served by the St Michael’s Staff.

So lunch for me was a wild Cornish venison tartiflette – potato, venison, and cheese.  (find out more about the Cornish Venison Co. and follow them on twitter here) Honestly what more could you need!

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Venison Tartiflette and Apple Slayer cider. YUM.

Music was provided by Suzi Mac (wow what a voice!) and fun was had by all!!

Another great year for the  Falmouth Oyster Festival – Check them out for next year!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date on all my latest foodie Posts.

Taste Of The West Awards

Taste Of The West Awards

Its that time of the year again. Best of the west –  a time when hundreds of southwest based companies compete to receive gold, silver and highly commended. 100 hundred judges and voters filtered their way through 1000’s of products. Below are the winners. a couple of personal favorites to note are Cornish Duck Co. LTD Cornwall – I visited their farm when i was part of Fifteen Cornwall and they really do love and care for their animals. They look after every process from looking after eggs, to rearing the ducks, to on site slaughter and processing. – Their ethos is great and their quality shows in the products.

Another noted winner was the Cornish Edible Insects company – I saw these guys at the Cornwall food and Drink Festival in Truro last year (here’s a link– check it out, a foodie must in Cornwall) Such a brave and great set of products from the brain of Fred McVittie! I tried meal worms for the first time! surprisingly lovely.

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to everyone for next year!

The winnersImage result for taste of the west

CHAMPION BACON Roam & Relish Organic Honey Smoked Streaky Bacon, Eversfield Organic, Devon

CHAMPION BEER Kingsdown, Arkell’s Brewery, Wiltshire

CHAMPION BURGERS, FAGGOTS & MEATBALLS Gluten Free Cornish Duck Burger, Cornish Duck Co. Ltd, Cornwall

CHAMPION CHEESE Sharpham Cremet, Sharpham Partnership, Devon

CHAMPION CHOCOLATE Champagne Truffle, Lick the Spoon, Wiltshire

CHAMPION CIDER Red Hen, Worley’s Cider, Somerset

CHAMPION CONFECTIONERY Salted Maple & Pecan Fudge, Roly’s Fudge, Devon

CHAMPION CURED MEAT Smoked Mutton Capreolus, Fine Foods, Dorset

CHAMPION DAIRY PRODUCT Happy Butter Turmeric Ghee ‘Golden Ghee’, Happy Butter, Devon

CHAMPION DESSERT Devon Bakewell Tart, Just Like Mumma’s Ltd, Devon

CHAMPION FISH IOS ‘Tegen Mor’ Crab Cakes, Tanglewood Kitchen Company, Isles of Scilly

CHAMPION ICE CREAM Mango Yogurt Gelato, Taste of Sidmouth Ltd, Devon

CHAMPION MEAT & POULTRY Organic Rib Eye Steak, Coombe Farm Organic, Somerset

CHAMPION NON-ALCOHOLIC COLD DRINK Rhubarb & Apple Cordial, Cornish Country Cordials, Cornwall

CHAMPION NON-ALCOHOLIC HOT DRINK Chaider’ (Chai-Spiced Apple Juice), Herby4, Somerset

CHAMPION READY MEALS, SOUPS & LIGHT EATS Classic Chicken Curry Bini, Fine Foods Ltd, Somerset

CHAMPION SAUCES & ACCOMPANIMENTS Pickled Lemon Spread, Yossi Foods Ltd, Bristol

CHAMPION SAUSAGE Traditional Pork Sausages, Sausage Shed, Somerset

CHAMPION SAVOURY BAKERY Chicken & Mushroom Sausage Roll, Little Jack Horner’s Ltd, Somerset

CHAMPION SAVOURY PRESERVE Caramelised Fig Chutney, Hillside Foods, Devon

CHAMPION SWEET BAKERY Lemon Drizzle Cake, Angel Cake Company, Dorset

CHAMPION SWEET PRESERVE Blaisdon Red Plum Jam, Artisan Kitchen, Gloucestershire

CHAMPION WINES, SPIRITS & LIQUEURS Sharpham Barrel Fermented 2014, Sharpham Partnership, Devon

BEST SOUTH WEST BUTCHER Greendale Butchers, Exeter

BEST SOUTH WEST FARM SHOP Greendale Farm Shop, Exeter

BEST SOUTH WEST FARMERS’ MARKET St Ives Farmers’ Market, Cornwall

BEST SOUTH WEST ONLINE RETAILER Riverford Organic Farmers Ltd, Devon

BEST SOUTH WEST SPECIALIST RETAILER/DELICATESSEN The Cheese Press, Torquay

BEST SOUTH WEST BED & BREAKFAST (joint winner) Dorset House, Lyme Regis

BEST SOUTH WEST BED & BREAKFAST (joint winner) Swan Hill House, Colyford, Devon

BEST SOUTH WEST CAFÉ/TEA ROOM Tea & Tittle Tattle, Budleigh Salterton

BEST SOUTH WEST CASUAL DINER Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh

BEST SOUTH WEST DINING PUB Victoria Inn, Salcombe

BEST SOUTH WEST HOTEL Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Clearwell, Royal Forest of Dean

BEST SOUTH WEST LOCAL FOOD TO GO Titley Green, Colaton Raleigh, Devon

BEST SOUTH WEST RESTAURANT Talland Bay Hotel, Porthallow, Cornwall

SOUTH WEST FOOD & DRINK INNOVATION AWARD Cornish Edible Insects, Cornwall

BEST NEWCOMER AWARD Happy Butter Turmeric Ghee ‘Golden Ghee’, Happy Butter

SOUTH WEST PRODUCER OF THE YEAR AWARD The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, Somerset

NO 1 PLACE TO GO 2017 Victoria Inn, Salcombe

SUPREME CHAMPION PRODUCT 2017 Sharpham Cremet, Sharpham Partnership, Devon

 

Tips and Tricks of ‘Instagramming’ Dinner!

Tips and Tricks of ‘Instagramming’ Dinner!

We live in an age where everyone wants to share everything! who they are, what they are doing, who they are doing it with, what they think of something, and most importantly WHAT THEY ARE EATING!

you know the type, you go out for some food and it arrives looking great, and out comes the phone! “oooh hang on, let me take a picture!” “I’ve got to Instagram this!” “that looks awesome, i’m gonna take a picture! Don’t eat it yet!!”  I know this type all too well, because I am this person. Much to the embarrassment of all my friends and family, it there is food, I will probably take a picture of it!!

Of course, now I have this blog, I can justify it in the name of research… kinda.

So I am going to write you a little ‘How To’ Guide to Instagramming (or just generally taking pictures) of your true love.. FOOD!

Tip #1 – Get The right angle

I like a close up, especially if you can get some little detail in there. Birdseye view is always good when you have more than one of something to show off like with this Sushi or a slightly “angled to the side – view”. I’m not sure what the technical term is but it looks great! eg – Gooey Brie Drool..

 

Tip #2 – Background is everything

This is important and may take some time to get used to, but background is everything! try not to take pictures of some amazing food with dirty dishes in the background or someone picking their nose!! NO ONE WANTS THAT!

wood is always lovely to use as a background, or classic white to make colors pop!

I also enjoy the odd clip of a person sharing the experience with you, I HAVE FRIENDS YA KNOW!

Tip #3 Lighting

One way to make your pictures look more professional is to make sure you have good lighting, just like anything, light makes a photo look crisp and clear. Your photos will stand out from a cloud of muggy, filtered, dull photos. It can be the difference between eye grabbing and not!

 

Tip #4 Editing and filters

If you must do it, do it well. i use editing apps on my phone and tablet to make food stand out and the enhance elements of the photo. For me, an app can bring all of the above to a photo after it has been taken, which is great if like me you take pictures of everything even if you are in a rush! I use FOTOR, NOCROP and FACETUNE for my after snap editing but there are loads of great apps and online tools. Of course, there is Photoshop.. I’m just rubbish with that!

 

Anyway, they are my first few tips for photographing your food. Have fun with it, be imaginative and send me your finished pics! The only thing i love more than taking pictures of food is looking at pictures of food!

I’m Hungry now. 

Jx

Street food – A.K.A the reason I will never be skinny!

Street food – A.K.A the reason I will never be skinny!

Friday night marked the end of my ‘so called’ diet. I was doing well, i had been eating soup all week and drinking lemon water to try and cut a couple of inches off my waistline. I was determined. This time I was doing a diet I was gonna stick to, nothing too extreme, no ‘low carb crazy cut out everything you love’ diet.

We left work, got on a boat and had a beer in the sunshine! perfection! Then we had a cheeky pasty, not the healthiest of options but it was a Friday and i had been good so i thought why not. we arrived in Falmouth for the River Fal Festival and it was in full swing (as Falmouth usually is) drinking and music and people being happy and jolly and enjoying the beginning of their bank holiday weekend..

And then I saw it..

Event Square. Filled with a Marque and stand after stand of STREET-FOOD. Naughty, beautiful, aromatic street food.

Nachos, Tacos, Churros, Curries, Indian, Thai, Burritos, Paella, Pancakes. LITERALLY EVERYTHING!

What is it about Street food that makes me lose my mind? Is it fear of missing out on Untitled collageincredible flavors? the joy of eating out of cardboard trays with your fingers? roughing it?

Is it finding people with enough passion to stand in the same spot for hours on end, dealing with drunk people? is it that i just love the diversity?

 

 

 

Maybe its just the thought of standing with a beer in one hand and some massive portion of food in the other, shoving in my face without judgement… yeah, that sounds like it. They are the real heroes of festivals!  They keep fueling us so we can carry on drinking! As any chef will tell you, Chefs wear capes too, they just tie them around the front!!

 

And obviously, i only eat so much, so that i can write about it? right? #inthenameofresearch

I’m gonna get so fat and I don’t even care – because I Bloody love Street food.

 

 

I am rubbish!! 

I am rubbish!! 

It would appear that some people do actually read the junk I write! As demonstrated by a rather angry and complementary (strange combination) lady who said she liked reading my blog but was disgruntled with the lack of posts!!
Well I promise that I will reciting this immediately!!!
And can I just say how fri gging amazing it is to have people emailing me and shouting at me for not writing more blog post!!!
Totally awesome!!!!
Anyway I’m getting started on a new piece which will be with you all next week!!
Love jade

X

Kids as commis chefs

Kids as commis chefs

seth making chocolate and banana pancakes

Or as I like to call them.. Little devils.
So the summer holidays have been well and truly upon us for a week now and as any parent or guardian knows the kids need to be entertained!!

However most of us have done anything and everything exciting we can think of in the first week so now what? What can we do to get them out of our hair and distracted long enough to string together a meal? How can we keep them busy? My solution… Cooking with them!!
I know  what your thinking but just hear me out.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I have the patience of a saint, and if they know me well then they know my 4 year old brother Seth. The manic, selfish ball of energy who only wants to do what he wants when he wants and will not be told otherwise. He is a nightmare. Honestly. Except when he is baking/cooking. A task that can stress a lot of people makes my demon brother, the calmest boy alive.

So obviously I looked into it and it turns out cooking or making food calms a lot of children. And it boils down to one key thing. Kids like being right. They like doing things well and obviously they love being praised! So the first time my brother picked up a pealed and pealed a carrot I jumped for joy. You would have thought that he had cured cancer with my reaction. And he liked that! Boy did he like that! So we started peeling other veg.. Then fruit.. Then baking cakes.. And bread and now he makes spring rolls and helps me take apart lobsters!!!
Cooking is a wonderful form of expression for me. It allows me to create something out of nothing and be proud of it and then EAT IT! So it makes sense that my brother would feel the same.

It can build a child’s confidence and help them out of their comfort zone. Suddenly they are opened up to a new world of smells, textures, colours and flavours. They are in control. They get to use the grown up things and stand of chairs so they are tall and most importantly they get to spend quality time with you. Adults. Parents, carers, teachers and babysitters. They get to help you and have fun at the same time.

So with this in mind I am going to be doing a 6 week section on cooking with kids. I want to see if it really helps my brother and how far he will take it before he gets bored. I will post pictures and recipes and I want you to join me! Set aside an couple of hours a week with your little one and make something magical.

J x

Experienced only need apply…

Experienced only need apply…

So I have not written a blog post for a very long time and I am very very sorry for anyone who actually reads this but in fairness I have had a pretty tough month..
I started a new job. A challenging and exciting job for which was proud and happy to get.

I was employed at a nice 4/5 (I’m not sure which) hotel and restaurant. In my first meeting the executive chef, who was very honest, said that he was building a kitchen full of very experienced chefs who had many years behind them… He wouldn’t normally employ someone of my level (2years in the trade) but is giving me a chance on recommendation.
So a very eager to learn jade walks into said kitchen. In my first month, my confidence had grown and I had learnt all dishes on the menu for my section. I followed instructions well and began paying attention to details I had never been interested in before. I was receiving feedback from my senior staff that was positive and complementRy. I had found myself an experienced female mentor and was learning and progressing as fast as I could in my section. I was proud of my work and wanted to push myself. Fuck yeah right?!
Fuck no.
I get a phone call asking me to come in and I am let go. Fired.

According to my oh so brutally honest chef I was not reaching peaks he wanted and he should never have employed someone with so little experience.

So little experience? 

So after the shock of being fired on the spot wore off I start to think about what it means to be experienced. Or rather experienced enough…
The national career services class and experienced chef as someone who:

  • Has a keen interest in food and cooking
  • Strong communication and leadership skills
  • An ability to work under pressure
  • Standard of cleanliness and hygiene
  • The ability to perform several tasks at once
  • Organisation skills
  • Ability of work as part of a team
  • Interest and innovation in creativity of food

Check,check,check,check,check,check,check and CHECK
And so the word experienced in this case seemed more to do with the number of years on my Cv rather than the actions I showed.

Now I’m not bitter. I understand the concept of a kitchen run by those with 10+ years of experience. Power kitchen for sure!! But what about the industry itself?

If kitchens (or any other industry) for that matter only employed very experienced chefs then what happens to us? The learners and strivers. The ones who realised that they loved cooking when they were 20 instead of 16 or the ones who went to uni and decided that actually we didn’t want to be academic. The ones who CHOSE to be a chef rather than fell into kping from school without qualifications and worked there way up. Who teaches us??

Who can we depend on to help us with our development?
Why is my passion and drive to learn and hang on to your every word not enough for you to take me on and help? Because without us the industry dies. you cant chef when you are 65 with a fucked back and broken knee and we can’t chef if nobody gives us the chance.
So this is my piece about fighting. Finding those in kitchen who will help you. Finding your inner strength and passion and pushing through because there are still people out there who don’t care how many places you have worked but more importantly that you are willing to work for them.. In a hot kitchen, with moody chefs and whining front of house staff and customers who don’t appreciate your efforts or care about the family you don’t see.

We do what we do because deep down we love it.

Help us.

Yours sincerely

The inexperienced 

Jx