Meet the Chef: Ben Routley, Farmers Arms

When did you become a chef & Why?

In 2011 I Entered my first kitchen as the quiet little pot wash trying to earn a little bit of pocket money. A couple weeks later I realised what I thought was going to be just a weekend job changed a thought in my head and I realised this fast paced, crazy & fascinating industry was definitely for me! Soon ditched the dishes and headed for the main kitchen.

Have you always been passionate about cooking?

I’ve always had a flair with food from digging half my parents garden up to make a vegetable patch to going out beating & using the freshly shot duck, pheasant & partridges to cook meals at home. Ive always enjoyed experimenting and putting ingredients together that shouldn’t work together but do!

What keeps you passionate about cooking?

It’s got to be hearing and seeing customers enjoy what’s produced for them. 

The “wow” you hear through the kitchen door as the dishes arrive at the table.

But also the amazing availability of our produce raised so close to us from long horned beef to freshly caught lobsters.

When did you start at the Farmers Arms at Combe Florey?

February 2020! Not the best time to try & turn a restaurant completely around with the Covid just kicking off and us soon getting locked down. But we pushed through staying open for takeaways. Which soon got the customers flooding into our outdoor thatched area wanting to try our new menu & freshly made pizzas.

Do you have a particular style of cooking?

Less is more. I don’t really have a style. I enjoy creating dishes from locally shot game to Asian Ramen noodles & everything in between. Everything comes with a little twist of course !

Do you have a favourite dish at the farmers and why?

I do have a couple of personal favourites I like to suggest to people. On the starters it’s got to be the hand picked Brixham crab & brown shrimp served with a runny truffle confit egg yolk & homemade focaccia. On the Mains its got to be the Josper seared backstrap of venison, hand-made sweet potato gnocchi, charred fennel & rich Port jus!

What one ingredient couldn’t you live without?

The obvious answer would be salt & pepper as that can lift & change a dish instantly but would be garlic for me I think. 

Do you have any exciting future plans?

We are hosting an event to celebrate the closing of the Exmoor Food Fest.

We have a few things up our sleeve for this year but its hush hush at the moment. 

Definitely the spring as I’m a huge spring lamb fan. 

Are you looking forward to the Exmoor Food Fest?

100% it’s a great way to prise people out of their homes & to keep supporting businesses throughout the cold winter months 

Is there is anything else you would like to add?

As mentioned we will be hosting the closing event to celebrate this great month of Fantastic pub / restaurants.

If you wish to see more of our food & the pub you can follow me personally on instagram @VW_CHEF96 or the pub itself @farmersarmscombeflorey

Published by Elke Koessling Winzer

Communications/ PR Expert. Helping small business owners to step into the limelight with the help of traditional & social media as well as virtual and real-life events.

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