Our Chefs'

Meet the seven award-winning chefs helping us to promote out ‘Magnificent Seven of Sustainable Seafood’ – if you want to try their dishes you can download their recipe cards from our Deck to Dinner page.

Nigel Bloxham

Nigel Bloxham

Chef proprietor at Crab House

Nigel’s interest in food and particularly seafood, started in his early childhood. His grandmother was the cook at the Charlton Park Estate and Nigel has vivid memories of watching her cook, using all the wonderful fresh produce that has served as an inspiration throughout his career.

From an early age Nigel began training as a chef at South Devon College. From there Nigel worked in a number of big hotels and restaurants not only local to Torbay but in London too.

Returning home and working for a fish supplier in Brixham Fish Market was when his career path was decided. Being a chef himself, Nigel was good with the restaurants and buyers, knowing what they wanted and needed. When the business came up for sale, Nigel bought it. As the market became more competitive with time, Nigel saw other opportunities emerging. Lots of different fish and seafood were often left rotting on the quayside, unwanted by buyers – Nigel looked into this and soon learnt how the Italians turned it into a delicacy by marinating it. Eventually Nigel set up a business solely trading in this, he won national and international orders and the business went from strength to strength.

Once the business was stable, Nigel was looking for a new and exciting challenge. He set up a busy and popular fish and seafood restaurant in Torquay and once successful sold this restaurant to concentrate on his marinating business. However, his passion for restauranteering had been born and after a number of years an opportunity came available to buy an oyster farm and adjoining shack café that he could not refuse. After a huge refurbishment of both the farm and shack style eatery, The Crab House Café was born. This has been Nigel’s sole focus now for many years, with great success. His cookery book was released last year and has been highly celebrated. Since then Nigel has not stopped and he has now opened a bar and diner, named Billy Winter’s, which is he is currently developing alongside his work at the Crab House.

    Jenny Bristow

    Jenny Bristow

    Northern Irish TV chef and cookery writer

    Jenny Bristow is a successful Northern Irish TV chef and cookery writer, locally recognised as one of Ireland’s good food ambassadors. She grew up on her parents’ dairy farm near Coleraine in Northern Ireland, where she learnt to value the benefits of using local produce. Her current home on a farm in Cullybackey is not only shared with her husband and three children, but features as the backdrop to her TV cookery series, screened worldwide.

    Her talent further extends to cookery writing and she is a bestselling author of 12 cookery books, reaching No 1. in the Sunday Times bestselling list. Jenny has a unique style of cooking which focuses on producing innovative and healthy meals. In 2014 she was acknowledged in the Queen’s birthday honours list for her services to the food industry in Northern Ireland. Jenny firmly believes in continuing to support the produce of Ireland and promoting the many virtues of local supply.

    For further information about Jenny, please visit www.jennybristow.com.

      Steven Edwards

      Steven Edwards

      Chef Director of etch food

      After completing his apprenticeship in 2003 Steven gained valuable experience working at Stoke Park (Chris Wheeler), The Diamond Club (Raymond Blanc) & Hartham Park (Andrew MacNaughton) before joining South Lodge Hotel in 2008.

      Starting as a team member during the opening of The Pass restaurant in West Sussex under the guidance of Matt Gillan, Steven worked up through the brigade to become Sous Chef. During his time in the Pass restaurant it achieved a Michelin Star, 3 AA Rosettes, 7/10 in the Good food Guide, Number 32 in the Sunday Times top 100 Restaurant’s & in 2010 Steven won the Sussex Young Chef of the Year competition.

      Steven continued to go from strength to strength, moving to The Camellia Restaurant, and becoming Head Chef at just 25 years old. It is here where he developed his own unique style and philosophy that is rooted in creating dishes around humble, seasonal, local produce using technique and creativity to bring the most flavour out of each ingredient he uses.

      In 2013 Steven entered and won MasterChef: The Professionals.

      Highlights of the competition included cooking for food critics Jay Rayner, Charles Campion & Tracy MacLeod, cooking a service for 170 guests at Dinner by Heston with Ashley Parlmer-Watts, travelling to Modena, Italy to work with Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana (recently voted the third best restaurant in the world) and finally cooking for 30 of the world’s best chefs.

      The final was to create a three course menu in three hours. Double Michelin starred chef Michel Roux Jr. said after eating Steven’s menu;

      "His food is lovely. He makes food that is great to eat, expertly cooked, presented with a certain elegance, clean lines, and it works – fault-free."

      Since winning MasterChef Steve & his business partner Josh Stanzl have set up their own company called ‘etch’. A food brand that offers master classes, demonstrations, recipe development, food writing, private dining, pop up restaurants & restaurant consultancy as well as becoming brand ambassadors for Baucknecht showcasing the latest innovation in kitchen appliances.

      In spring 2015 Steve & Josh where appointed creative consultants for the Brighton i360. Teaming up with Centerplate to create innovative menus sourcing ingredients from the 29 miles that can be seen from the highest moving viewing platform in the world.

      To find out more about Steven & etch please visit his websites:

      www.steven-edwards.co.uk and www.etchfood.co.uk

      Gareth Fulford

      Gareth Fulford

      Head chef and co-director Purslane

      Gareth is head chef and co-director of Cheltenham based seafood restaurant, Purslane, which he opened with his wife, Helena, and business partner, Stephanie Ronssin, in the summer of 2012. Previously, he had worked in the events industry for five years, cooking for high profile clients including royalty, before relocating to the Cotswolds, where he worked at an upmarket gastro pub.

      As a child, his family heritage in butchery meant fish suppers were infrequent. Growing up, he developed a passion for cooking fish and loved producing sophisticated meals from simple ingredients.

      In his own restaurant, he is keen to offer sustainably-caught seafood from British waters married with the finest local Cotswold produce. He was named Chef of the Year at the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards and Purslane was granted a score of "6" in the 2015 Good Food Guide for "Exemplary cooking skills, innovative ideas, impeccable ingredients and an element of excitement."

      For more information about Gareth, visit www.purslane-restaurant.co.uk.

        Paul Gildroy

        Paul Gildroy

        Head Chef at Magpie Café Seafood Restaurant, Whitby

        Paul Gildroy is the Head Chef of the world famous Magpie Café Seafood Restaurant in Whitby, North Yorkshire and also the manager of The Magpie’s Whitby Catch Fishmongers.

        Paul first came to the Magpie aged just 12 for a weekend job buttering bread. After leaving school he went to catering college in Scarborough and, after gaining experience in the Lake District, returned to The Magpie in 1993.

        Paul now acts as the main seafood and shellfish buyer for both businesses and regularly buys on both Whitby and Scarborough Fish Markets whilst liaising closely with his wet fish supplier for the bulk of his fish. During the busy season the Magpie can use in excess of 80 stone (500 kilos) of wet fish per day plus shellfish such as Lobsters and Crab.

        Paul believes that quality is paramount to his business and values being able to buy via auction – which allows him to bid for the very best fish available. Buying at auction also provides full traceability which is very important as customers are increasingly wanting to know where the fish was caught, the name of the boat and occasionally even the name of the skipper.

        For more information about Paul and the Magpie café visit www.magpiecafe.co.uk.

        Steven Smith

        Steven Smith

        Chef-proprietor of The Freemasons, Wiswell

        While The Freemasons at Wiswell became a local institution a long time ago, Steven Smith and his team are now enjoying national accolades worthy of the award-winning cuisine he has created in this quaint Lancashire village.

        Now recognised as one of the North West’s top dining establishments, Steven has worked tirelessly to provide customers with a true gastronomic experience in a stylish yet homely pub setting. Providing seasonal a la carte menus, an exceptional wine list and a number of occasional menus, The Freemasons offers fine dining at an obtainable price, an accolade recognised this year by The Sunday Times, who not only placed The Freemasons in The Top 100 Restaurants List for the second year in succession, they also commended it for being the most affordable.

        Working alongside a dedicated team, Steven and The Freemasons reaped the rewards for their hard work last year, becoming the first pub in history to receive a coveted seven out of ten in The Good Food Guide alongside taking the top spot in the Good Food Guide top 50 pubs. In addition, The Freemasons won Best Tourism Pub in both the Visit Lancashire and Visit England Awards and finished in the top 10 in the Gastropub Awards. The Freemasons also recently took 68th place in Square Meal’s Top 100 UK Restaurants.

        Putting The Freemasons and indeed The Ribble Valley on the gastronomic map, Steven has collaborated with numerous prolific chefs in recent years, bringing the likes of Michael Wignall, James Mackenzie, Paul Askew, Josh Eggleton, Matt Tebbutt, Mary-Ellen McTague, Kenny Atkinson and Mark Wignall to The Freemasons, with events selling out within days of launching.

        Such is his success at The Freemasons, Steven has undertaken a new role over the last year, offering his services as a consultant, providing new establishments with insight into building a brand, menus, staff training and much, much more.

        Dave Watts

        Dave Watts

        Head Chef at King's Head Hotel, Cirencester

        Dave Watts has a rich culinary background having worked in some of the UK’s best restaurants, including spending eight years training with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. He started at Le Manoir as a Commis Chef and rose through the ranks to the position of Senior Sous Chef.

        Dave has also held prestigious positions at Hurst House on the Marsh Manor, in Carmarthenshire, and at Cotswold House Hotel, in Chipping Campden where he held the reins as Head Chef. During this time, Dave was named ‘chef to watch’ by the Good Food Guide.

        Now at the Kings Head, a fabulous property bursting with character and charm, he has been keen to get stuck in and lead the team in creating tasty, uncomplicated food for hotel and restaurant guests to enjoy at any time of the day. There are many great restaurants in Cirencester and he is looking forward to getting the Kings Head firmly on the restaurant map.

        Dave brings to the Kings Head his passion for great food that people will enjoy eating. He believes food should be “utter pleasure on every level” and prides himself on showcasing the very best seasonal and local produce throughout his dishes. Dave is focused on continuing the restaurant’s vision as a space to unwind and relax in familiar company over fantastic food.