From the beautiful shores of Bude and Polzeath, and the harbours and fishing ports of Padstow and Newlyn, to the rolling hills at Bodmin Moor and the Land’s End cliffs, Cornwall’s landscape is as beautifully diverse as its food offering. Fresh from his recent guest appearance on BBC Two’s MasterChef, Paul Ainsworth took the time to discuss the coastal county he’s so passionate about.
Paul, originally from Southampton, fell in love with Cornwall at a very young age, when he first visited with his best friend’s family. Like many people, he visited during the summer holidays as a child. From then on, he was excited to go back time and again. But what is it that keeps visitors returning to Cornwall?
‘This is how the love affair starts with this stunning county – those who holidayed here as children start bringing their children and reliving those memories of crabbing and rock-pooling, going to the beach every day, and gorging yourself on pasties and ice cream. I honestly consider myself the luckiest man in the world to be able to call Cornwall my home and never have to pack up – the holiday never ends.’
As a successful and enormously talented chef, Paul has made Cornwall his home and the base for his restaurants. In foodie terms, we were keen to find out what brought Paul to the area and why No. 6 in Padstow was the perfect spot for his restaurant.
‘Cornwall has everything, and I mean everything, that you could possibly ask for as a chef. This gives chefs like me the freedom to experiment, safe in the knowledge that our ingredients are of a consistently high standard. We all know of its reputation for world-class seafood, but its lesser-known farming communities that produce top-notch pigs, duck, game, dairy and vegetables are also phenomenal. Here at No. 6 we are particularly proud of the lamb we source, which comes from the Tamar Valley.’
It’s clear that Cornwall has an abundance of produce to allow chefs like Paul to be selective, but he was also keen to discuss Cornwall’s part in cultivating an ingredient that’s not commonly associated with England – the humble grape.
‘With a climate to rival some of the best wine regions in Europe and the soil that goes with it, Cornwall has the ability to hold its own in producing fantastic grapes; you only have to look at Camel Valley, who have been creating amazing sparkling wine for a long time. In turn this has led others around the UK to start producing and promoting English wine.’
We were delighted to be able to include Paul and his restaurant in our latest edition of the Cornwall Food & Drink Guide and are excited to see what’s next for this talented chef. For an exciting culinary adventure of your own, Paul suggests that you treat your Cornwall Food & Drink Guide like a bible, and allow it to take you all over Cornwall – you won’t want to be anywhere else in the world.