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.
The New West Country Cook Book is a testament to this collective spirit.
The book 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 fantastic taste of the best ingredients artfully combined.
The New West Country Cook Book is the brainchild of Cornwall based photographer David Griffen, who built a career working with Michelin starred chefs across the country. His new project draws together a culinary collective, who despite their stellar status, let their food and its origins do the talking.
The 320 page book, focusing on key ingredients that can be found or foraged locally, aims to showcase the region’s culinary talent and high quality produce through beautiful photography and home-cooked recipes.
It’s all about clever and simple cooking. 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.
Some of the recipes include:
- Cornish Rarebit with Doom Bar Beer
- Dexter Rump of Beef with Cornish Blue Cheese Butter
- Sticky Cornish Fudge Pudding with Clotted Cream
- Sparkling Cider Jelly with Blackberries and Apple Cider Ice Cream
Tasty stuff indeed!
Food and lifestyle photographer David Griffen loves food almost as much as he loves photography. He relocated from Australia to Cornwall eight years ago and now lives and works here with his young family. David says: “I have been shooting food in the South West for almost a decade, and have witnessed first hand a swell of excitement surrounding the region’s culinary development.
“The idea for the book came from watching the chefs working together at festivals and demonstrations; in quiet moments backstage they were talking as a group and to each other and sharing ideas and experiences – there was a real sense of mutual support.”
The book features over 75 delicious recipes from 17 chefs including Nathan Outlaw, James Tanner and his brother Chris, Paul Ainsworth, Michael Caines, Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, Tom Kerridge and Chris Eden.
Nathan Outlaw, who has won two Michelin stars for his restaurant in Rock, Cornwall, said: “Over the last ten years the camaraderie amongst the chefs of the South West has increased. I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking with other chefs, and I think it is good for the chefs who work with me to see other styles. It’s great to have these extra influences in the kitchen.”
The simple and clever recipes in The New West Country Cookbook feature produce sourced from the region, and the recipes are aimed at the home cook.
David continues: “The brief given to each chef was the same – no fancy techniques, just honest home cooking, with a focus on the region’s produce.”
David regularly shoots for the top echelon of chefs in the region and further afield, including Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, Tom Aikens and has just finished shooting Michael Caines first cook book. David actively engages with a steadily growing audience through various social media channels, and is a leading expert in the fields of ‘photography for food blogs’ and ‘food photography for social media promotion’.
Tom Kerridge, who grew up in Gloucestershire and runs the two Michelin starred Hand & Flowers in Marlow said: “The standard of cooking in the South West over the last few years has risen dramatically, with the increase of a number of home grown South Western chefs opening their own places or becoming head chefs in their own right in some fantastic venues.”
Hard cover * 320 Pages * £20 RRP *Independently Published * ISBN 978-0-9576238-0-4