What’s cooking? Adam Bristow, THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay
In this Muddy regular, our favourite chefs spill all about their work, lives and top tips. Dishing it this week: Adam Bristow, Head Chef at The PIG at Harlyn Bay, Padstow.
Your first job in a kitchen?
Like most I was a washer upper at a local pub and after a year of that I was promoted to work the fryers and the salads.
What is your career highlight?
I would have to say Robin Hutson telling me he wanted me to be the head chef at THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay!
Sum up your food philosophy?
Simplicity and locality. Nothing makes me happier than a dish with three components or less if possible, that is simple and perfect with nowhere for the chef to hide.
Most memorable moment at work?
Robin Hutson saying my name from the pass and a distracted me greeting him with a “YO” I immediately felt like a moron.
Ever cooked for anyone famous?
Quite a few people since working at THE PIG, but I won’t mention names as they generally come to THE PIG to get away from that.
What’s been your biggest mistake at work?
Expecting too much of people, I have seen so much potential in some that I have pushed them too hard.
You’re tired, starving and impatient: what do you cook for dinner?
Brown toast salted butter and Rachel’s marmalade
What would you cook to impress a date?
Haha, my wife’s favourite dish as I would never want to impress anyone else so pan-fried Hake, Tenderstem broccoli, boiled potatoes and preserved tomato and shallot dressing.
Marco and Gordon will always be gods to me, but Nathan Outlaw will always be my idol as a chef.
Nose to tail by Fergus Henderson or la Rousse Gastronomique.
Favourite type of cuisine?
English and French to cook as that’s what I have been trained in, but Italian is my favourite to eat.
Favourite kitchen gadget?
My garnish chefs would say the chipper I bought them, but I have a lot of love for the humble Maurice/Spoonula.
Favourite things to eat when you’re on holiday?
I haven’t had many holidays, but I always try to eat what the locals eat so whatever is good in that country.
What mistake do inexperienced cooks tend to make?
SO MANY but mostly they watch too many tv chefs and forget that there is a lot of dicing shallots and peeling potatoes before you get to touch the meat and fish, let alone make a sauce.
Favourite ingredient and why?
Lemon, acidity is everything to me butter and salt as well but without lemon they don’t sing so sweetly.
Most overrated ingredient?
Nothing is overrated everything can be brilliant on its day, but I do hate with a passion flavored cheeses because why take a stunning cheese and add herbs and spices or worse smoking.
The dish you’re most proud of creating?
I’m not sure I’ve really created any dishes there have been cooks as long as there have been people how can I take credit for something that someone has definitely done before? I make a pretty good mackerel tartare and the fact that I got a curry on a PIG menu is pretty awesome.
Tell us your best ever cooking tip?
USE SALT!!!! That is all
Three dishes every home cook should master?
A good Bolognese sauce, a good bechamel and a roast dinner the first two are vital to myriad dishes; the third is executed so badly so often that its heart breaking.
Favourite local hotspots?
Anything by Outlaw (below) or Ainsworth and the St Kew Inn consistently the best places to eat.
Favourite local markets and suppliers?
Padstow Farm Shop and the farm shop at Padstow Kitchen Garden are great. Truth be told though, I am on such good terms with my suppliers that I tend to call them if I want something for home. We spent so much time picking the suppliers for Harlyn and I am very proud of how well we have stuck to our 25 mile ethos it makes it a challenge that is so worthwhile and gives you a great feeling talking to normal people who make incredible things every day. These people give me the chance to share their incredible work with our guests which is a privilege and a great honour.
Favourite thing to cook on the PIG menu?
I love cooking fish any fish it doesn’t matter!
The PIG at Harlyn Bay, Harlyn Bay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8SQ
Restaurant and Lobster Shed open to non-residents