When did you become a chef and why?
2014. I’d been in Magazine Publishing for 25 years, and the last recession, in the late 00s, left many of my colleagues at Director level redundant, including me. This happened to coincide with me having a horrific accident and breaking my arm very badly. Three operations later, a huge amounts of physio and a large dollop of stubbornness meant I got my arm back, well 80%. Once I had taken a bit of time out and recalibrated, oh and got married, It was my step daughter that suggested I should cook professionally. Three months after that we launched La Petite Bouchée
Have you always been passionate about cooking?
Absolutely, since I was able to stand on a chair and watch my Mama. She was the most superb cook and dazzled our palates from the get go. She taught me about creating flavours using fresh ingredients. It’s something I have carried with me all my life and now in my job.
What keeps you passionate about cooking?
Living here on the edge of Exmoor means we have the most incredible array of fresh ingredients at our disposal. Meat, fish and shellfish at our disposal together with fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs. I love exploring new ingredients and putting my twist on classic dishes.
When did you start La Petite Bouchée?
La Petite Bouchée launched in August 2014, We’d converted our 50 year old vintage Citroen camper into a mini restaurant, after the first 6 months we had seating for a further 30 and regularly did big events in Sydenham Wells Park, South East London, which was home for 2 and a half years. We arrived here in Witheridge in February and on May 5th opened La Petite Bouchée version 2 in what used to be the games room in our home. That’s almost 5 years ( including 2 lockdowns ago).
Do you have a particular style of cooking?
If we were to have a style I guess it would be French with a Devon twist. Classic French brasserie dishes made with the best local ingredients Devon has to offer.
Do you have a favourite dish at La Petite Bouchée and why?
I love cooking fish and shellfish the most. I think the spectacle of a two or three tier Fruit de Mer is hard to beat. From steaming the shellfish in our house stock, cooling it, preparing it for the platters, shucking the oysters, cracking the claws , making the various sauces and accompaniments and seeing the look on peoples faces when they are presented with the end result.
What one ingredient couldn’t you live without?
Salt, in moderation of course. It can elevate a dish to a new level.
Do you have any exciting future plans?
Well yes, we are intending to produce a Festival TOGO menu this year. We recognise not everyone wants to dine out and so we’ll be putting together a Restaurant TOGO style box for people to still enjoy the festival. Our Restaurant TOGO boxes have been very popular throughout the pandemic. We provide you with all the fresh ingredients you need. Fully prepped and ready to pop in the oven or cook on the hob. We’ll be sending out cooking instructions and we’ll be running a competition for the most well presented meal during the Exmoor Food Fest.
Secondly, we’re going to launch MANGETOUT, our new bi-monthly supper club for the consummate foodie. Presenting food from different corners of the world exclusively at different locations for an exclusive amount of diners. We’ll be announcing our first location shortly.
Are you looking forward to Exmoor Food Fest?
We sure are. It’s one of the first things we signed up for when we arrived in Devon. We missed last year because of Covid and so we’re especially looking forward to meeting lots of foodie festival goers again this year.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can find details of our menus on our website www.lapetiteboucheebrasserie.co.uk/bar-menu
Exmoor Food Fest Deal:
2 courses £17.50/ 3 courses £20.00 4 courses £25.00
Available Friday and Saturday evening ( Bookings Only )
19 The Square
Tel: 07729 643642