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In our last news post we talked about our research highlighting the huge reputation and popularity of Cornish food and drink and one of our recommendations in the report is for Cornwall to capitalise on this reputation by maximising the trade potential for Cornish produce outside the county. Just think about all those holidaymakers who would like to enjoy more Cornish foods and drinks year-round and not just when they're visiting…

One of the ways we are already doing this is by helping the development of the Cornwall – London distribution system run by Cornishmen Gavin Hicks and Matt Chatfield. Gavin runs Logisthicks, a delivery service based in Launceston operating around Cornwall and from Cornwall to London. Matt is based in London and works with the chefs from around 25 of the top contemporary restaurant names, including The Ledbury, Pitt Cue, Prawn on the Lawn and Lyle’s. By understanding what they are looking for, Matt is able to work out how their needs might be met by Cornish suppliers.

We’re helping Matt and Gavin find those suppliers who, in Matt’s words, must be ‘not just the best in Cornwall at what they do but the best in the whole country’.

We recently collected an eclectic mix of Cornish chefs, London chefs, Cornish producers and key food writers together at a gathering in Knightsbridge to investigate this potential in more detail. Hosted at Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin starred Knightsbridge restaurant, Outlaw’s at the Capital, the group was treated to a fascinating sashimi masterclass from Yoshinori Ishii, executive chef at the Mayfair restaurant Umu. Yoshinori has scoured the UK for the freshest, finest fish and selected Cornish day boat fishermen as his suppliers because of the supreme quality of their fish.

Typically these are the day boats that fish the inshore waters using the time-honoured sustainable methods of pot, rod and net, returning their catch to shore every day to ensure its supreme freshness and quality. This reputation enables Cornwall to export its fish around the UK and beyond, and makes it an obvious and attractive choice for chefs like Yoshinori looking for top-quality, fresh seafood.

Delegates enjoyed canapés followed by a lunch of Cornish-sourced lemon sole with warm tartare sauce and crispy capers and an Outlaw’s favourite, treacle tart and orange marmalade ice cream. Each course was accompanied by a different ale from the Sharp’s Brewery range, all matched to perfection by the brewery’s acclaimed and delightful beer sommelier Ed Hughes.

As a result of this exercise, we are already receiving requests from London chefs for more products from Cornwall and investigating how we can help them find those extra-special products that meet their exacting standards.

Our thanks to Invest in Cornwall for supporting this event and making it possible.

Image by Paul Winch-Furness featuring sashimi created by Yoshinori Ishii using Cornish fish as well as some species sourced from further afield.
For more images from the day, see our Facebook page.