Out & About: Cornish Chef’s Club


The culinary landscape has been evolving over the past decade or so. I’m not talking about the rise (and fall?!?) of ‘molecular gastronomy’ or ‘new Nordic cuisine’, I mean at a more grass roots level. Chefs are getting to grips with sharing information, and this is where the Cornish Chef’s Club is breaking new ground.

Founded in 2012 by Adrian Oliver, Phil Thomas, Ken Symons and Steve Marsh, the club aims to bring chefs in the county together, to discuss current issues & generally chew the fat. Anything from recruitment to new techniques & produce are talked about, generally over some excellent food.

The meal I attended was at Rosewarne Manor in Connor Downs near Hayle. There was about thirty or so people there for the event, a mix of chefs (& partners) and suppliers; which varied the topics of conversation somewhat, everything from Twitter to guide books.

Normally the event is hosted by a single chef, but this time it was jointly run by Phil Thomas (Head chef at Rosewarne Manor) and Bruce Rennie (formerly Martin Wishart’s Head chef & now resident at The Gurnard’s Head in St. Ives). I’ve spoken to Phil a number of times in the past year or so about Cornish Chef’s Club, and besides the obvious benefits of sharing knowledge & experience, there is also the charity work the group do.

Last year saw Cornish Chef’s Club pick up a special award from Food magazine, for their amazing effort in raising over £22,000 for seven charities. Some of the prizes for the end of evening auction included:

  • Four tickets to see Manchester United v Southampton at Old Trafford on October 19, donated by LWC Southwest, fetched £1,000.
  • A football signed by Chelsea’s squad went for £360.
  • A tour for four at the Aston Martin Factory raised £600.

Clearly the with a number of years under their belts, other chefs in the region can see the benefits of such gatherings. Mike Palmer (Exec chef at The Two Bridges & The Bedford Hotel) has set up Devon Chef’s Club & Steve Ashworth has recently set up Somerset Chef’s Club.

As an initiative, it’s a great idea; chefs freely trading ideas & thoughts, along with gaining culinary growth. At the April event 30 diners were treated to some really good cooking, the highlights for me were the Primrose Pork & the Lemon tart pre-dessert.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – April menu (click for a larger image).

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Bread basket.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – flavoured butters.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Foie gras torchon, mango gel.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Morvah chicken with sweetcorn & popcorn.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Chicken roulade close up, with the skin wafer.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Seabass, cauliflower puree & curry oil.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Primrose pork, baby gem, apples & barley.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Pre dessert; Lemon, fennel & apple.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Valrhona chocolate.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Petit fours.

Cornish Chef's Club

Cornish Chef’s Club – Bruce, Phil and the kitchen team behind the April event.

Suppliers that support the Cornish Chef’s Club are:

  • Total Produce
  • Delicate Trade
  • Stevens Cornish Slate Company
  • The Primrose Herd – premium Cornish Pork
  • and many, many more: Friends of the club.

For more information concerning the club, you can find them on various platforms & social media:

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