Taste Buds magazine logo
Callum Tasker

In the Kitchen with... Callum Tasker

The Head Chef at Brasserie at the Bay, at the Meadfoot Bay Hotel in Torquay, shares his culinary experience with Taste Buds

Where does your inspiration come from?
Firstly, my nan. She was an amazing lady who simply loved feeding people. She used to be up at all hours making everything for her church’s coffee shop, including cakes, jams and chutneys. The second is Gary Rhodes when he was on the original series of MasterChef in the 90s with Loyd Grossman. I may have still been in shorts when I first saw the programme, but while other kids were kicking a ball around the park, I’d be glued to the TV watching Gary do his thing. My final source of inspiration is Devon’s amazing larder. The fish and meat are unbeatable. There’s also the fruit and veg, and not forgetting our local cheese and wine. What more could you want as a chef? It’s living the dream.

What is the must-try dish on your menu?
Fillet of beef with chestnut gnocchi, wild mushroom fricassée and a red wine jus. G.T Orsman butchers in Shaldon supplies all our meat. It's such high quality and our diners love every cut I cook for them. I particularly like this dish because it contains the rich, earthy flavours of autumn.

Can you sum up your cooking style in three words?
Unpretentious. Flavoursome. Fresh.

What is the best local produce to eat now?
Devon rhubarb. It’s a delight and has been ignored for a long time. Now it’s had a resurgence, and I love surprising diners with my take on the classic dish: rhubarb and custard.

Do you have a top tip for budding chefs?
Keep true to yourself. Stick with your instinct. It’s all too easy to chase culinary influences and lose touch with the style of cooking you feel is most natural to you.

What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?
Thermomix.

What is the most unusual thing you have eaten?
When I first sampled this dish, it made a lasting impression on me. Actually, it was the first time I met my wife’s parents. Knowing I was a chef, they assumed I’d be hungry. They prepared a huge plate of boiled potatoes, cabbage and painch (that’s Scottish for tripe). Today, tripe is not at all unusual. In fact, it’s very fashionable. But I’m afraid that first steamy encounter put me off for life!

Brasserie at the Bay
The Meadfoot Bay
Meadfoot Sea Road Torquay
Devon TQ1 2LQ
01803 294722
www.meadfoot.com