Muddy Meets: Lara Trubshaw, The Peterville Inn
Taking on a pub in a pandemic? Not the easiest of tasks. We caught up with Lara Trubshaw of The Peterville Inn, St Agnes to chat Cornwall, hospitality and where's she heading first when everything opens up again.
With the news that St Agnes has been named the best place to live in Cornwall in our Best Places to Live vote, we’ve been speaking to some of the owners of the brilliant businesses that make this village on Cornwall’s north coast such a great place to live.
Setting up a pub in a pandemic – that’s a roller coaster, I bet!
You could say that! We (Lara and her husband Tom) went into it knowing that it was mid-Covid, but I have to say, we did hope the opening up The Peterville in July was the beginning of the end, not the false horizon it turned out to be. We’ve traded I think five out of twelve months so far, so we’ve high hopes for the next season.
We’d moved to St Agnes the year before and wanted to go into business together – the opportunity to take on the pub came up during the first lockdown and we jumped at it.
A positive reception from the locals though?
Yeah, they’ve been incredible, very welcoming. The previous tenants closed in the first lockdown and we hope that we’ve taking the pub in a positive direction. The takeaway roasts are going well, so that’s pleasing and allowed us to operate during the last month or so. The locals have been very supportive and we’ve had great reviews. We’re looking forward to opening again.
We’re planning on opening the outside area for weekend drinks, and are hoping to get a BBQ up and running for the hot days of early summer – we buy in our fish daily from a local fisherman at Chapel Porth, so we’re thinking mackerel baps, scallops, that sort of thing.
What is your day to day working life like?
I’m in charge in the office and Tom is the man on the ground in the pub. He used to be GM at the Unicorn on the Beach at Porthtowan, so it’s great that we can trust each other to get on with what we do best.
We’ve a team of around 15 in total and we manage them together, then I look after the marketing and PR, the admin and our social media accounts. In common with a lot of families, we’ve also been homeschooling our kids, so it’s been somewhat of a juggle.
What are you/ your team doing to champion women and equality in your every day?
Our head chef is female, as is our front of house manager. We’ve a strong female team! Having three small kids ourselves, we know what it is like, so we pride ourselves on making sure everyone (men as well as women) can manage their family needs as well as their work.
Do you have any role models?
On a more personal level I think Jess Ratty of Ha.lo is pretty inspiring. She has set up several successful Cornish businesses and she is never afraid to just have a go at something and put herself out there. I’ve learnt a lot from her.
Work-wise, I think Emma and Paul Ainsworth have done wonders, building up an entire empire together up in Padstow and Rock, working together like Tom and I do. We definitely want to emulate that model, starting with The Peterville. Once we’ve got that one right, we’ll be on the up.
What did you do before you opened The Peterville.
I was a broadcast journalist (after completing a masters at Falmouth) and then worked in PR for hospitality clients. I actually started my career in St Agnes when I used to be the breakfast news anchor for Atlantic FM (an independent radio station which was based at Wheal Kitty, which was then taken over by Heart FM) so you could say I’ve come full circle!
Tell me more about St Agnes – why do you love living there?
Its very community focused, with interesting businesses and shops, plus nice people, and a good school.
We live on the side nearest the beacon, so we can walk up to Wheal Coates (above) and Chapel Porth so easily. The village is full of great businesses and the community is lovely. We’ve got five pubs and four restaurants and everyone is so supportive.
The St Agnes Chamber of Commerce is very active, Visit St Agnes does a great job and we’re all working on plans for the carnival.
Where in St Agnes is good for shopping?
There are too many to mention, really, but I hugely appreciate the Churchtown Fruit and Veg Shop that has been operating in the village for decades, as well as places like Churchtown Arts, which is another longterm high street presence – businesses in the village with such longevity are a huge inspiration.
I’m also a big fan of the new deli – Trunk. Its by the people who also own The Sorting Office, which makes great coffee by the way. They do local cheeses, cured meats, Cornish chutneys and great wine, plus flowers. A great addition to the village.
When your first visitors arrive in Cornwall post lockdown, where are you taking them first?
So many places! But where first? I think down to Trebah (gardens) – that walk through tropical paradise out onto the beach on the Helford is just stunning. We’ll also head to a proper destination beach for a beach day and BBQ, maybe Kynance or Porthcurno. When the weather is right, it’s like being in the Caribbean. But wherever you point your car is gorgeous! It’s Cornwall.
Where’s first on your restaurant list (that isn’t The Peterville!)
Prawn on the Lawn, without a doubt. I love the restaurant in Padstow and I’ve booked a reservation for lunch on the Farm as soon as they open. The dishes, a nice bottle of wine, that view. Just lovely.
And what about your favourite place in Cornwall? Favourite beach?
Well, I’m Newquay bred through and through, so probably Newquay Harbour. I grew up gig rowing there and then worked in the restaurant there for two years (now the Boathouse) so I’ve definitely fond memories of that scene.
Beach wise, it’s probably Crantock. My parents live there, so we often take the kids for a whole day at the beach – park in the National Trust carpark and you’re just moments from all the golden sand. If we want a walk, we go past Polly Joke to Hollywell. Yeah, that area near Newquay is just gorgeous. So beautiful.