Stacey Sheppard, from Taste Buds magazine, talks to Brixham-based Andy Sewell of the Quayside Restaurant
The Quayside Restaurant is part of the Quayside Hotel in Brixham and enjoys a pretty location on the harbourside. Following a recent refurbishment, the restaurant was relaunched in March of this year and now boasts an AA rosette held by only 10% of the UK’s restaurants. Taste Buds met Chef Andy Sewell to find out about his cooking skills.
How did you first discover your love for cooking and when did you decide you wanted to be a chef?
My love of food and cooking started at an early age. My mother was a good cook and I always helped her out in the kitchen. At the age of 12 I started cooking Chinese Food from Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery book. I got a wok and seven pounds of prawns for my 13th birthday.
Can you tell us about your background and how you came to work at the Quayside Hotel?
I went to France to do some travelling and skiing and worked in lots of kitchens in ski resorts. I was then made Head Chef in a large hotel in Val D’Isere. I worked my way up through the company and four years later became Catering Manager for First Choice Winter Holidays.
Two years later my wife and I started our own ski chalet, catering for English holidaymakers. We did this for nine years through the winter and then in the summer we returned to work in hotels and restaurants. We eventually moved back to Brixham six years ago so that our two young children could go to school in the area and this is when I started my job here at the Quayside Hotel.
What is it about Devon, and Brixham in particular, that makes you want to work in this area?
In 1994, we came to Brixham to find work for the summer and fell in love with the place. I am a real beach bum at heart and like to spend my spare time kiting and surfing, and at the age of 45 have just taken up skateboarding.
How would you describe your approach to food and cooking?
My approach to food is simple: always use the freshest produce possible from local suppliers.
What kind of food do you serve in the restaurant?
The food we serve at the Quayside restaurant is AA rosette standard. Along with freshness we require a lot of preparation and precision in cooking. We also have our Ernie Lister Bar next door to the hotel, which is served from the same kitchen, so balancing speed of service with precise cooking is important.
How does the Brixham location of the restaurant affect the food that you are able to serve to your customers?
Being in South Devon we are surrounded by an abundance of great produce and really good local suppliers. Being on the edge of the harbour means we can take advantage of the daily catch landed by the day boats.
What are your favourite locally sourced ingredients and why?
My favourite ingredients have to be fish and seafood. It’s simple to work with and the repertoire of recipes is endless.
Aside from your own restaurant, where do you most like to eat out locally and why?
My two favourite restaurants to eat out at the moment are the Bickley Mill at Stoneycombe, Newton Abbot, because you can always get something different and exciting there, and The Boathouse in Preston, because it’s right next to the beach, has great food and a relaxed atmosphere.
What is your favourite meal and for what reason?
My favourite meal is moules marinières with salad and crusty bread, served with a glass, or even a bottle, of Sharpham Chardonnay. Having lived in France for so long, this dish brings back great memories of good times.
What is your signature dish?
All the dishes on the à la carte menu are signature dishes. We spend a lot of time carefully constructing dishes to match the seasonal produce. But if you asked what my favourite dish is at the moment it has to be the trio of duck on our starter menu.
Taste Buds is published by We Make Magazines, a family-owned Devon company. Taste Buds is produced using Devon-based writers, chefs, photographers and sales team. It is printed on environmentally friendly paper.
… just like the food we write about, Taste Buds is lovingly made using the finest local ingredients!
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The SepOct issue of Taste Buds is out now