I take pictures of great food. It’s a privilege that has fed not only an appetite to celebrate the chefs who create the dishes, but also to applaud the region that supplies the source of their inspiration: the South West. I have been lucky enough to witness the stellar nature of the region’s culinary development and capture the moments when produce, place and talent unite.
By the end of this book, you’ll have seen the West Country through my eyes: travelled with me on a fishing boat to pull in mackerel and crab at dawn; got your boots muddy tracking down Dexter cattle with cliff-top views of the Celtic Sea; gone underground to sample cave-aged cheese; and shaken hands with fellow West Country food champions, the chefs themselves.
Working together, we’ve brought a shared passion to this project – pairing my images with their dishes in celebration of the new look, feel and, most importantly, taste of the region’s invigorated food culture.
But new doesn’t have to be complicated: clever cooking can be simple cooking. Focusing on key ingredients that can be found or foraged locally, the best of the region’s chefs have come up with some lovely recipes which emphasise, rather than manipulate, the flavours of food in a uniquely West Country style.
Whether because the region’s food scene has, on occasion, been dismissed as provincial, pasties or simply Padstow, or because of its geographical isolation, there’s a special camaraderie amongst the community of cooks in the South West.
This book is testament to this collective spirit. I’m excited to share these recipes with you, inspire some tasty meals in your own kitchen and maybe even motivate you to take me at my word and come down and try the food first hand – the fact is that the galaxy of Michelin stars on show in this ‘New South West’ is merely a part of a larger universe of talented chefs lighting up the West Country.
This book, then, is a showcase: not of the top names in the business, although it has them; not of expensive or extraordinary ingredients – as the South West can grow, rear or catch them all; but, more, a celebration of the simple beauty and – let’s be honest – fantastic taste of the best ingredients artfully combined.
Tasty stuff indeed!
Thanks again to: Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Pete Biggs, Jack Stein, Sam Moody, Russell Brown, The Tanner Bros, Mick Smith, Tom Kerridge, Josh Eggleton, Tom Blake, Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, Neil Haydock, Chris Eden, Simon Hulstone and Michael Caines.
Get your little taste of foodie history now.