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Peter Gorton is an award winning Masterchef of Great Britain and one of Devon’s finest chefs. He began his career in 1980 at the age of 16 and trained at some of the best restaurants in Great Britain and around the world. He then became the chef/proprietor of the Carved Angel restaurants and cafés in Exeter, Taunton and Dartmouth and The Horn of Plenty near Tavistock which he sold in 2010.
Later that year, Peter opened Gorton’s restaurant in Tavistock. This was sold in 2014 to enable Peter to focus on his long-term ambition, to train young chefs of the future. Peter now works tirelessly running a consultancy business from his home in Tavistock where he lives with his wife and two children and has become one of the region’s best known and well regarded chefs with years of Michelin star experience.
We are delighted that Peter has offered Insideout a nourishing recipe to help us increase our sense of wellbeing during the pandemic. The best thing is that all of the ingredients can be sourced in the town (or elsewhere if you are not based in West Devon).
But first, we got to ask Peter a few questions about what he spends his time doing - when he’s not in lockdown - and what he thinks is the most important thing to focus on in the pandemic.
What do you do in your consultancy work?
I travel all around the country, obviously when I can, and I work for restaurants, cafes, private hospitals, private five-star hotels, right across the board. And I do all the training, all the educating, I do all the health and hygiene, management training, menu development, writing stuff - everything really! It also includes new menu development and creations. Much of my work is abroad. I might be anywhere depending on where it is, what it is, the concept - from anything such as looking after 40 chefs, training and educating them through to just working with a lady that owns a small café.
What do you enjoy about your work?
It's very interesting because I get to learn a lot every day. Over the last 15 years, I probably learned more than I've ever learned. Going into different places and developing an understanding of its health and safety, the management training and understanding different businesses as well.
I also work a lot with charities and in particular Rowcroft Hospice locally.
You are big supporter of local business aren’t you?
I think local produce is a big thing. I'm working with Tamar Fresh, The Meat Box Company, Owens Coffee…the list goes on a bit. So I'm quite lucky, really. The reason why I do Tamar Fresh, as you know from my videos, is Tamar Fresh buy locally from a lot of farmers in Devon and Cornwall.
Of course we've got to mention Insideout. We can't not mention that. I have bought so much over the years, cards, from both there store in Exeter and the one down here! I've had some lovely stuff and it's even better to see Nicky now developing her own pottery.
Tavistock is an incredible community, isn't it? It's a small town and a lot of people know each other and it's important because there's not many places like Tavistock. If we lose that sense of community it'll be such a shame because a lot of people come to Tavistock to visit purely because it's different to anywhere else.
What would your advice be to the people of Tavistock to help each other out?
The best thing that anyone can do during the pandemic is to support as many of the local small producers and businesses as we can. Not just the fresh food shops but also the takeaways of course. That's important too because there's quite a few of them in Tavistock and they also keep things ticking along.
Also using the local pharmacies and all that sort of thing is important. Using stores like Allan Dolan if you have any stationary needs, instead of going getting it from somewhere else, stay local. Visit a local butcher. Tavistock's lucky because it's got quite a few good quality butchers. Howells I used to use for 20-odd years, even longer. And then obviously you’ve got Downing's, you’ve got Palmer's, to name but a few. You've got so much choice. If you really break down Tavistock and look at it, there's a lot there.
When this pandemic is over, try and plan shopping in advance and say to yourself, "Do I need to get this from the big supermarket? Can I actually get that from Tavistock? Or could I actually buy that on the high street? Or are they doing an online service from the local shops?”
Also - smile a lot! I know it’s hard isn’t it with masks on. But smile and say hello to people as you pass them. It just a little something that will help the well-being and the mental health of people. Why not say a quick, "Hi, how are you doing?” We have all got to be there to support each other at the moment because it is tough enough.
You've got to think positive. I'm a positive person as you know, so I always, always think positive. I try not to think of negative. If you spend half your time thinking about the bad things, you'd never get anything done.
Peter has kindly made up a Comforting Beef Casserole recipe for you to enjoy. The ingredients and recipe are below, you can get his top tips for making this wonderful dish on the ‘How to’ video at the bottom of this blog and if you want to know more about Peter you could visit his website here.
500g Beef, diced (good quality braising beef)
200g Mushrooms, quartered
25g Fresh garlic, diced
200g Parsnips, thickly sliced
140g Carrots, thickly sliced
140g Celery, medium diced (Optional)
200g Red onions, sliced
1 Medium leek, cleaned and diced
400g Tin chopped tomatoes
500ml Stock or beef granules
3g Fresh thyme, chopped fine
2 Bay leaf, torn
3 tbsp Plain flour, I used Gluten free
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp Sunflower oil
2 tbsp Hoi Sin sauce, (Optional)
Cooking the Beef Casserole
PART 2: HERB DUMPLINGS
200g Self raising flour
50g Atora suet
6g Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
10 tbsp Cold water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Method for the Herb Dumplings
If possible source the ingredients from local suppliers. We have some fantastic Independent Grocery Stores in Tavistock, support these businesses. https://www.visit-tavistock.co.uk/openforbusiness-groceries
We hope you enjoying this hearty warming meal.