I have to apologise for my blog entry being late. I know that Charlotte and Damon have managed to put interesting and informative entries on the website despite the madness of the pre-Easter rush but I’m afraid mine just didn’t happen. It’s been a very busy and exciting couple of weeks, beginning with the delivery of my first book last Friday. I met the lorry at 8am on that chilly, but gloriously sunny morning and spent the next couple of hours with Danny (who else?) trying to fit 167 boxes worth of ‘Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood’ into a lock up storage facility made for 166!
I must say that I am absolutely delighted with the finished product and have to thank my publisher, Quadrille, and everyone else involved for their help in getting it to this point. There’s something very surreal about seeing yourself in print. I can’t say that I’m a natural writer or that it wasn’t a really difficult task (I’d much rather be cooking than sitting at a desk) but I hope that people enjoy using the book as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I wrote it to be used, not to merely decorate a coffee table. In fact, in the future, if I ever see a copy well-thumbed and stuck together with bits of fish gut I will be a truly happy man!
During the last couple of weeks I’ve also spent some time at the Camborne and Saltash campuses of Cornwall College. As a supporter of high quality vocational training for young chefs I was honoured to be asked to go to the campuses to demonstrate a couple of dishes and chat to the students there. I was pleasantly surprised to find groups of young chefs who were knowledgeable and really eager to learn. Without the work that the college is doing, the next generation of chefs would be ill-equipped and I was glad to see that they are being taught the classical basics before being encouraged to attempt more complicated methods and dishes. Whilst increasing the interest of the general public in food, the rise of TV cookery programmes seems to have made everything look easy when the reality of working in a professional kitchen is anything but, just ask my apprentices! I was glad to see that these young chefs were receiving a thorough grounding which will serve them, and their potential guests, well in the future.
And so to the Easter weekend; traditionally the beginning of ‘the season’ in Cornwall. We were, thankfully, very busy, even though the weather wasn’t brilliant. My head chef, Pete Biggs and Ian Dodgson, the operations manager have been working really hard to get all our new staff up to standard so that they fit in seamlessly with those who have stayed from last year. It was the first real test of this and, I’m pleased to say, went really well.
Now I’m eager to put some new dishes on the menu; things that we have been working on over the winter in readiness for the new season. I think we’ve seen the last of the good quality cod and lemon sole for a while as they need to be left so that their breeding season progresses and fish stocks of these varieties are replenished, such a vital event. I’m looking forward to serving john dory and red mullet – both in season now and in the last few days I’ve been very excited to see the fishermen out on the little boats and that means only one thing – mackerel are about!
Finally, there are a couple of things you might like to keep an eye out for. Firstly, I will be up against Mitch Tonks doing a ‘cook off’ at Exeter Food Festival on Sunday 15th April; secondly, the new series of ‘Great British Menu’ has started and I will be competing within the South West in a few weeks’ time and lastly we have finalised details of our Masterclass season for 2012 so I will be welcoming some good friends to cook with me later in the year. Details of the Master Classes will be on this website. I hope to see you at one of them!