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Gareth Head. Head Chef, The Crabshell Inn

In the Kitchen with… Gareth Head

Taste Buds talks to the Head Chef at The Crabshell Inn in Kingsbridge

How long have you been at The Crabshell Inn?
I’ve worked here for seven years, five of those as Head Chef. It’s my passion to serve fantastic tasting food. I want people to enjoy not only the dishes but also the whole experience in this wonderful location.

Can you tell us a bit about your chef’s experience?
I was the new kid on the block here, assisting the previous Head Chef. Watching, learning, making mistakes, taking it on the chin and forming my own ideas and tastes.

I don’t have the all-round experiences that many of my peers have but I possess the pride and ambition to create the dishes we present at The Crabshell, in a mutually respectful working partnership with the owner, Simon Harrow.

Many a day is interrupted with a new taste idea or dish that Simon has tried. We work on it, add a Crabby spin and try it on the team first – if it gets past those critics then we fine-tune and put it on the specials menu to see how the diners react.

What’s a must-try dish on your menu?
My own seafood chowder. It’s seaside comfort meets full-on taste. It features so much of what gives The Crabshell its identity – particularly as we use freshly sourced local seafood – and we take pride in serving it as one of our signature dishes.

Where do you source local produce?
All around Devon, with a few key ingredients from Cornwall. We have established relationships with local suppliers who all share our passion. There is so much fresh produce in our area, with the land and the sea surrounding us.

Is there anything you grow/make yourself?
That’s Simon’s passion and it’s getting ever more intense! He fell in love with the ‘no-dig’ way of growing and has created our garden of delights. We have enjoyed salad leaves, tomatoes, spuds, beets, carrots… all either used in our main menu, or sent to Aimee at our Zest Deli to make into Mediterranean-influenced dishes.

With the increasing demand for plant-based and gluten-free food, we will be calling on our gardener to supply even more home-grown veg for our menu.

What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Back to seafood again – crab and lobster. We are so lucky to serve up what we love to eat here.

Any new dishes or menus in the pipeline?
Our philosophy is to encourage ideas and we regularly feature new dishes created by our crew. Most recently, Flynn Bewley’s venison dish became a real winner, having made it from a ‘special’ onto the main menu. Flynn is one of four apprentices we currently have in the kitchen.

The Crabshell Inn
The Quay
Embankment Road Kingsbridge
Devon TQ7 1JZ
01548 852345
www.thecrabshellinn.com

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