On Monday the 15th of April I travelled to the St Enedoc Hotel, Roc, North Cornwall to cook a dinner with Nathan Outlaw at his seafood grill.
I first met Nathan on a white truffle safari to the Alba area of Northern Italy, 22 men and one woman in all. Who is this hardy woman well it was the truly fabulous cook Jane Baxter. Largely comprising of chefs it was’nt before our collective appetites turned the trip into leaderless hilarity. With Mitch Tonks serving grappa at breakfast, Fergus Henderson, Fernet Branca all day and our own sommelier Tim Green uncorking endless Barollos and Barbarescos as you can imagine the coach was soon renamed the ‘Ship of Fools’. Truffle grating was encouraged with increased abandon, that earthy funky delightful scent filling our noses as it floated down onto chopped veal, hid pasta like snow on leaves or covered hot cream, eggs and risottos. Those diligent few who allow their wives do the accounts got a sharp clip over the ear on arriving home sobbing with the pain, happy memories and the delight of being safe once more.
On the trip I liked Nathan immediately on our first chat in the airport and decided I wanted to get to know him over the rest of the week. He is very modest but by no means timid. He is funny, kind and often very sharp without it feeling unkind. Despite having 2 Michelin stars his attitude to the stove is very down to earth with a similar approach to food as mine, keep it simple. Whenever I see him I never feel I have to start again but can continue where we left off. I was delighted when he asked me to come and cook at his restaurant. I would say here that because of Nathan’s fine character he attracts fabulous staff. The kitchen and front of house team was tight strong and very friendly. The youngest were very inquisitive and the atmosphere was uplifting. No wonder is food is good.
We fed 25 mouths with 7 courses, wine included. There was a brief demo and Q and A at the beginning
Here are the dishes. Nathan did 3 I did 4. We have no pictures of Mr Outlaw’s canpes. I have added a few bits of extra ingredient info to the titles.
Val: Cured salmon, black bread and dill sauce
Cure (salt, Muscovado, juniper, dried orange peel, fennel seeds and coriander seeds)
Val’s crab custard
Ingredients (brown crab meat, cream, egg yolks, sherry, Dijon mustard, tomato puree, shallots, pepper, fried onions, tarragon
Red Wine Octopus & Haricot Beans
Nathan: Cod, cockle and mussel chowder
Val: Lamb neck with cockles, bacon, cider and celery tops
Nathan: cheese soufflé, pickled celery & walnuts
Val: Chocolate tart, caramel orange and crème fraiche
Photography courtesy of davidgriffen.co.uk