Gelf Alderson was one of the early pioneers of the field to fork philosophy, and as an award-winning head chef at River Cottage HQ Cookery School & Dining Events, he’s committed to using food that is farmed locally, or foraged from the surrounding area. Constantly creating inspiring food at River Cottage HQ, who better than Gelf, to talk to us about dining in Devon.
Gelf dives in and tells us of his passion for the county. ‘It is a tough call finding a county in this country that beats Devon for the sheer breadth of plentiful bounty on offer. From pasture to coast, Devon has a rich history of cultivating quality food.’
The region is brimming with fantastic produce, which is showcased in dishes dotted on menus across the region. Gelf highlights the importance of sampling the best of the bunch. ‘West Country pastures provide lush grasses that produce some of the best milk in the world. Quicke’s cheese is a fine example of a local producer who has made the most of this – they’ve been making cheese for 14 generations. I’d thoroughly recommend you sample the West Country cheeseboards in Devon’s restaurants and pubs, and in addition, work your way through their local ale offering.’
River Cottage HQ Cookery School & Dining Events is a shining example of a place that utilisies all that the locale offers, and we were keen to find out where Gelf discovers his ingredients. ‘At River Cottage HQ Cookery School & Dining Events, we pride ourselves on working with the finest ingredients, of which over 90 per cent are sourced within a five-mile radius of the farm.’
In order to whip up such lip-smacking dishes, getting your mits on great produce is a must, and according to Gelf, nothing quite beats the shores of Devon. ‘When it comes to our coastline, we’re blessed with prolific produce. The coast around Lyme Bay is a Marine Protected Area where only hand fishing is allowed, and the result is rich pickings for those of us lucky enough to work with or dine on the catches’
Whether you’re a familiar face or newbie, the beauty of Devon’s culinary scene is its variety. ‘Whichever way you look at it, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in Devon. My advice? Just make sure you choose somewhere that’s making the most of what this county has to offer.’
You can view our latest Devon Food & Drink Guide online here.