BEHIND THE FOOD AT THE WATER'S EDGE IN FALMOUTH
PUBLISHED: 12:54 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:16 30 August 2017
For foodies in the know, the two AA Rosette Water’s Edge at Falmouth’s Greenbank is a delicious delight. We catch up with executive head chef Nick Hodges
Nestled on Falmouth harbour, the award-winning Water’s Edge restaurant at The Greenbank Hotel is dedicated to great food. Executive Head Chef Nick Hodges and his kitchen team firmly believe in the freshest seafood, succulent local meats and seasonal produce grown on our doorstep, in what is described as rustic fine dining.’ Originally from Falmouth, Nick Hodges worked under chef legends Keith Floyd and Jean Christophe Novelli. He returned to Cornwall to run restaurants at the Headland Hotel and The Rosevine, as well as to teach at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation. He joined The Greenbank in 2015.
How would you describe your food style?
Traditional with a fusion of contemporary styles and flavours. I would say rustic fine dining.’ I’m particularly inspired by Mediterranean, English and Cornish recipes.
Who has been your greatest food influence?
I was inspired at a young age by my grandma Alice (her fish pie recipe features on The Working Boat pub’s autumn menu) and I initially cooked under Jean-Christophe Novelli, a great mentor.
I am also constantly inspired by new chefs coming into the kitchen with their new ideas and new techniques. It’s good to keep you on your toes!
How important is seasonality in your menu?
Seasonality is very important on many levels – including quality, cost and support to our local producers and suppliers. The region’s coast and climate provides the best seasonal seafood and fish, and my cooking is a celebration of having access to the freshest ingredients which change frequently throughout the year, right on our doorstep.
What is your favourite flavour of Cornwall?
You can’t beat a local crab sandwich on a granary doorstep, with lots of butter. Tucking into it al fresco with a coastal view on a sunny day – that’s the dream.
What ingredient couldn’t you do without?
I love Cornish sea salt. I’d never be without it in the kitchen.
What was your most memorable meal?
A beach barbecue on Swanpool beach in Falmouth this summer with family and friends. Plenty of sundowners with grilled seafood, salads, buttery corn on the cobs, cheeses and huge chunks of meat – perfect!
Why did you become a chef?
I really liked the buzz of the kitchen environment.
What is your food heaven?
It’s autumn so comfort food like game, duck and cottage pie. The colder days bring out the slow cooker and I’ll be cooking for longer with more robust flavours and using produce that need time to marinade, smoke and cook overnight.
What is your idea of food hell?
What’s going to be big in 2017?
Slow cooking, big flavors, cheaper less well-known cuts.
The Greenbank Hotel
Harbourside, Falmouth TR11 2SR
Water’s Edge seafood hotpot ingredients:
Fish soup base
5kg of washed fish bones to include: gurnard, monk, turbot or brill, cod or pollock
Handful of king prawns
Handful of mussels
1 gram of saffron
2 fresh chillies
4 washed, peeled and chopped carrots and onion
2 chopped leeks
1 head of celery
3 fennel bulbs
2 chopped garlic bulbs
Cup of brandy
Cup of Pernod
Large tin of chopped tomatoes
½ small tin of tomato paste
10 pints of chicken stock
4 large chopped potatoes
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
100g pasteurised egg yolks
3 teaspoons harrisa
Pinch of saffron
5 finely chopped cloves of garlic
400ml pomace oil
200ml vegetable oil
400g plain mashed potato
Lemon wedges to serve
1. Saute all vegetables in minimal amount of olive oil until flavours are released and vegetables start to colour and soften.
2. Add the tomato paste and wait until the paste just starts to catch the base of the pan, then add the saffron, the alcohol, chopped tomatoes and stock.
3. Stir well releasing any bits from the bottom of the pan, add all other ingredients and bring to the simmer. Do not boil rapidly.
4. Simmer for approx for 2 hours allowing all the flavours of the seafood come out.
5. With the hand blender blitz the stock releasing even more flavours, sieve twice; first through a colander and then through a fine sieve. Return to the stove and reduce by one third.
6. Finish by checking the consistency and seasoning.
7. Blend the roiulle ingredients well until a smooth paste, and serve alongside the hot pot with buttery chunks of French baguette and wedges of lemon. Enjoy!