Talking food with Nick Hawke from the Terrace Restaurant at Talland Bay Hotel
The fresh, inventive menus at Talland Bay Hotel’s Terrace Restaurant are testament to the skill and imagination of head chef Nick Hawke.
Having learned his trade under some of Britain’s finest Michelin starred chefs, he leads a kitchen team dedicated to raising the culinary bar and making Talland Bay one of the best foodie hotels and restaurants in Cornwall.
We sat down with Nick and talked about his style of cooking, favourite ingredients, his culinary heroes and what plans he has in store for the Terrace Restaurant in 2017.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
It is very hard to put a label to my style. I like to use different flavours from around the world and apply it to traditional British and European cuisine.
What ingredients are you enjoying working with now?
As a chef who is passionate about using seasonal produce it can be difficult in the winter to keep a varied menu. As spring is starting to bloom we have beautiful local lamb coming into the kitchen which I use on both the Brasserie and Terrace Restaurant menus. I am also loving the forced rhubarb which we use on our dessert menu and can occasionally be found with duck on the menu.
What is your favourite dish that is currently on the Terrace Restaurant Menu?
It is extremely hard to pick a favourite dish but if I had to choose it would have to be Red Mullet which I serve with an Asian Bisque Risotto this is accompanied with local crab coconut, nori and lemon grass.
Did you start cooking as a child?
From a very young age my grandparents looked after me quite a bit. They owned a country cottage in a small hamlet called Hay St Stephens. This is where I first really enjoyed cooking with my grandmother. We would cook pea pasties (sounds strange but were amazing, she had come up with them during the war when meat was quite scarce), Apple Snow which I have on the menu now and the odd jam or jelly. All the produce we used was from the garden.
What was your first job in the kitchen?
It all started with a work experience placement at the Cliffhead Hotel in Carlyon Bay where I went on to earn a part time KP/Commis chef job. From then on I was hooked.
What’s been your toughest job in the kitchen?
One odd job stands out in my mind straight away. In 2011 I went work for Chris Eden at The Driftwood Hotel in Portscatho, it was my first taste of a Michelin standard kitchen, I loved every minute of it even though the kitchen team was small and hours were long, it gave me some of my happiest kitchen memories.
What do you like to cook at home?
Me and my fiancé love our pasta so that is what’s normally on the menu. Occasionally we may treat ourselves to a piece of fish from the hotel’s supplier, Simply Fish in Looe, which can range from Turbot to some lovely fried Hake.
Who are your biggest foodie heroes?
I will have to say Chris Eden and Guy Owen who I worked under at The Driftwood, they gave me so much passion for cooking. Also Tom Bradbury who I worked with for five years at the hotel at Watergate Bay. He put me on the path to being the chef I am today.
A lot of people think Fine Dining can only be enjoyed in London. What are the challenges that come with proving people wrong?
There are a lot of amazing restaurants in London, but for me cooking the boat fish fresh from the morning market and serving them on the terrace where you can smell the sea air is what it’s all about.
Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the Terrace Restaurant in 2017?
We are always developing the menu from strength to strength. I am currently in talks with a local farmer about using lamb grazing just a couple of miles from the hotel.
We as a hotel are all about supporting local businesses and farmers who in return strengthen the menu with their fine produce.
Address: The Terrace Restaurant, Talland Bay Hotel, Porthallow, Cornwall PL13 2JB / 01503 272667