PUBLISHED: 17:32 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:29 30 August 2017



The Beach at Bude has a menu boasting the best seasonal local ingredients served up with classic cooking techniques. Head chef Joe Simmonds tells us how..

Joe Simmonds, head chef at , joined the team when the hotel’s restaurant opened in autumn 2014. He was promoted to head chef a year later. Joe’s love of fresh local ingredients combined with his knowledge of classical techniques shines through in his menus.

Originally from Yorkshire, Joe has worked his way up through the ranks from a local pub in Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire at the age of 16 to eventually working under Sam Moody at the Michelin-starred Priory Hotel in Bath. After 13 years working in kitchens he still loves what he does today, thriving on the happiness that his food can bring people.

How would you describe your food style?

Fun and flavoursome. My food is fresh, local, and I like to use a combination of different types of seafood. I use a lot of citrus and like to balance my flavours.

Who has been your greatest food influence?

Everyone I’ve worked with throughout my career has influenced my approach in some way. I’ve just taken the positives and the negatives from everyone and tried to adopt the positives.

As I was growing up I cooked with my family a lot particularly with my dad, and my grandma used to bake; my early influences were generally not chefs but my family.

How important is seasonality in your menu?

Seasonality is very important, I’d say 90% of the produce we have on the menu is seasonal and I use herbs and spices to give dishes a lift. The core ingredients are always seasonal.

What is your favourite flavour of Cornwall?

I’d say seabass, samphire and cider, combined in various ways. I’m from Yorkshire, where it was all about ale and meat so when I first moved down to the South West, I just found the different flavours really interesting. Flavours are generally a lot lighter and more refreshing, I think.

What ingredient couldn’t you do without?

There are so many, but I think I would have to say butter. I thicken light stocks with it to make sauces, emulsify it, and use it to keep lean pieces of meat moist. I use locally-produced unsalted butter and tend to use the most basic form of any product, like plain flour and baking powder instead of self-raising.

What was your most memorable meal?

I worked in Majorca for a while, and on days off we’d go to this small tatty beachside bar. We’d sit there all day drinking small lagers and ordering dishes like duck and apricot, or fresh fish with loads of lemon and garlic. The food was very simple, but I think it’s just as much about the company and the environment, as the tasty food that makes a meal memorable.

Why did you become a chef?

I fell into cheffing, but discovered that once I was in it I found it really interesting, I like that there’s a creative element to it, and that food makes people happy.

What is your food heaven?

I really like dishes which use spices, so Asian food is really up there, but also chocolate and fruit. I cook Asian food at home but I’ll also use subtle spices in my dishes at The Beach. We’ve got a lamb dish with spiced yoghurt on the menu at the moment, which also features lots of summer vegetables.

What is your idea of food hell?

Raw mushrooms, they just freak me out to be honest with you!

What’s going to be big in 2017?

I think there is a demand for lighter dishes on menus, and a move away from heavy sauces. I know it’s nothing new, but head to tail cooking is also becoming more prominent. 

Pigeon salad with beetroot, courgette, chicory, hazelnuts and beetroot ketchup

(Serves 4)


8 pigeon breasts

2 raw beetroots (golden and candy if possible)

1 punnet of baby courgettes cut in half lengthways, or two courgettes cut into batons.

2 chicory bulbs

10g unsalted butter

1 sprig of thyme

50g roughly chopped hazelnuts

100g cooked and peeled beetroot (pre-packed)

30g caster sugar

30g Jerez vinegar or 50ml Balsamic vinegar

Vegetable / olive oil for cooking (not extra virgin)

100ml rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

1/2 lemon, juice only


  1. First peel your raw beetroots. With one, slice it wafer thin on a mandolin and put aside, and with the other, cube and poach it in water until tender (1cm dice-sized cubes take around 12 minutes of simmering).
  2. For the courgettes, heat a pan and add a dash of vegetable oil. Place courgettes in the pan and colour off for two minutes either side. Remove from the pan.
  3. Cut the chicory lengthways and place it face down in the same pan as the courgettes until golden.
  4. Remove from the pan, top and tail and pull off individual leaves.
  5. To make the beetroot ketchup, place the cooked and peeled beetroot into a liquidiser and add the sugar and vinegar. Blitz until smooth and slowly pour in the rapeseed oil until emulsified.
  6. Heat up a pan until hot, adding a dash of oil. Sear seasoned pigeon breasts for 1 minute either side then turn the heat down.
  7. Add 10g butter and the sprig of thyme, cook again for 1 minute either side and then turn off the heat.
  8. Add hazelnuts into pan and a squeeze the juice of the half lemon over the pigeon. Let it rest for two minutes in the pan.
  9. Once rested, slice the pigeon breast lengthways into four.
  10. Share the chicory, beetroot and courgette between four serving plates and place pigeon on top.
  11. Top with the hazelnuts from the pan and add dots of beetroot ketchup with a spoon or piping bag.
  12. Enjoy!

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