FAT HEN’S CHEFS

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Since 2007 I have been working with a number of chefs who are dedicated to seasonal produce, grown or foraged with care and attention to quality. These are chefs who are creative, experimental and keen to get as close to the source of their ingredients as possible.

After supplying the Gurnards Head in Zennor and the Lime Tree in Penzance with wild food for 12 months I began to appreciate how fantastic these ingredients can become in the hands of talented cooks.

I have built up relationships with the following chefs, who now cook for Fat Hen on the Gourmet Wild Food Weekends and other events.

Photograph of Caroline Davey from Fat Hen, teaching a children's cookery class
Photograph of chef, Mark Devonshire, Fat Hen's fish and game teacher

MARK DEVONSHIRE

Mark Devonshire lives in north Cornwall and has been working with Fat Hen since 2010. Mark has always had a love of good food and is a firm advocate of local ingredients and promoting our great British produce.

He began his career under the tutorage of Rick Stein at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and spent 17 years there, the last 8 of which were as head lecturer at the Padstow Seafood School. Here he found his true vocation as a teacher and was able to inspire other chefs and students with his vision of cooking under the guise of Rick’s recipes.

After Padstow he sought a new challenge and went to work at a cookery school based on a working farm in Eckington, Worcester. After cooking wholly with fish at Rick Stein’s he had the opportunity to cook with the best quality meat from their herd of Aberdeen Angus and Highland cattle. Here he also learnt the art of artisan bakery, preserving local ingredients and managing a cookery school.

He decided to return to his home county of Cornwall after eighteen months and to full time teaching. He is now a lecturer at Cornwall College where he teaches students aged sixteen and upwards. He is happiest teaching people who, like himself, appreciate the true pleasures of creating great food.

Mark is the lead chef on our Gourmet Wild Food Weekends, Fish & Shellfish day courses and Game Cookery day courses.

TIM MADDAMS

Tim is coming to teach at Fat Hen for the first time in 2014. He is a chef, food writer and cookery teacher who lives in Devon and has become well known for his work at River Cottage. He regularly features in the River Cottage TV Series and is a central contributor to the Fish Fight campaign.

He’s been into food from an early age and spent much of his childhood on the family farm in Wiltshire, gleaning a close understanding of farming and fostering a love of the great British countryside, wild food and quality produce which would form the cornerstone of his culinary ethos.

Over the course of his career, Tim has worked under such culinary luminaries as Fergus Henderson, Alistair Little, Marco Pierre White and Mark Hix, as well as leading the VIP catering team for the Ferrari F1 team in Europe. A nagging feeling of unease with the corporate world made Tim yearn for a return to his country roots so Tim returned to the South West and started work at River Cottage. During his time as head chef, Tim pioneered ethical, local, seasonal produce and became a key spokesperson in the arena of responsibly-sourced food. He set up his own company, Green Sauce, in 2012, teaching, cooking and consulting on ethical food.

Tim is the lead chef on our Fish and Game weekends.

Photograph of chef, Tim Maddams; Fat Hen's fish and game tutor
Photograph of chef, Matt Williamson, owner of Flinty Red and Fat Hen's original chef

MATT WILLIAMSON & CLAIRE THOMSON

Matt and Claire are Fat Hen’s original husband and wife cooking team and have been working with Caroline since Fat Hen’s inception in 2007. Their style of cooking has had a huge influence on the way in which we showcase wild ingredients at Fat Hen. Matt and Claire are both passionate about wild and seasonal ingredients, foraged or grown with care. They met whilst working at the Chelsea Arts Club 13 years ago, and have worked together at home and abroad in various kitchens until they opened their successful restaurant Flinty Red, in Bristol, in 2009.

They got involved with Fat Hen in 2007 when Matt was head chef of the popular gastropub, The Gurnards Head. Caroline supplied the pub weekly with wild food and each time she dropped a delivery off to him, she got a taste of the latest wild dish he was concocting in the kitchen. She was immediately blown away by the unique way he was incorporating the ingredients into his cooking and soon asked if they would come and cook for Fat Hen. They cooked for Fat Hen until 2010.

Matt now runs their restaurant Flinty Red and also the food and drink at the Bristol Old Vic. Claire is now a food writer, writing under the label ‘5 ‘O’ Clock Apron’, with a weekly children’s food column in The Guardian. Inspired by her own brood of three, she writes creative and brilliant recipes that parents and children can enjoy together. She is currently writing a cookery book.

They work on a consultancy basis for Fat Hen and plans are afoot to bring them back down to teach as visiting teachers on specialist courses. Watch this space!