Chef Emily Scott takes over Watergate Bay’s Fifteen restaurant
PUBLISHED: 11:25 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:59 14 September 2020
The St Tudy Inn chef has opened a pop-up restaurant in the former Jamie Oliver restaurant
One of Cornwall’s favourite chefs has popped-up on a north Cornwall beach with a new lockdown-friendly restaurant at the former Fifteen restaurant overlooking Watergate Bay.
When Fifteen Cornwall announced it was closing at the end of 2019 after a decade, it left a huge gap in Cornwall’s foodie trail. The restaurant with one of the best views in Cornwall reopened in July with Emily Scott at the helm. Emily holds a well-earned and impressive reputation heading the kitchen at St Tudy Inn and has brought her relaxed approach to fine dining to North Cornwall.
This summer, together with her partner, Bordeaux winemaker Mark Hellyar, she took over Fifteen, offering relaxed dining overlooking the famous beach.
Always in the kitchen (and difficult to get hold of for interviews!) Emily is all about the food. Her relaxed ‘hyper-local’ approach is built on an appreciation for the natural world and a meticulous search for the highest quality local ingredients, providing the perfect flavour for our times. Over the summer many of us have adjusted to a stripped back, slower, more gentle way of life, now gathering once again for the simple pleasures of swapping stories together while eating great food.
“To put it simply, I am passionate about food and it is in my kitchen where I feel most at home,” she explains. She loves delighting others through food: bringing friends and family together around the table. “My passion for the connection between food, a sense of place and storytelling is infectious, intriguing and comforting all at the same time. My story is one which interweaves the sentimental tales of a childhood in Provence with my grandfather (Papa) collecting strawberries from the fields to the hum of crickets in the warm sunshine, to the beautiful shores of Cornwall and golden sandy beaches. Experience and memories are translated into ingredients which collectively are heightening into simplistic, rustic dishes which are easily recreated at home.”
How would you describe your food style?
I source from the very best local suppliers. I create dishes that follow the seasons. I gather the finest ingredients and combine them simply and instinctively. I have a new appreciation of our world and what is has to offer, the connection between the land and water. The lockdown spirit for me is rush slowly, waste less and care for each other more.
Who has been your greatest food influence?
Women who are leading the way in the food industry: Sally Clarke, Skye Gyngell, Alice Waters, Julia Childs, Asma Khan, Ruth Rogers, Nieves Barragan and Margot Henderson.
How important is seasonality in your menu?
I cook with the ebb and the flow of the seasons, going naturally with what nature has to offer at its best. I know where I am then; there is something grounding and reassuring about each changing season. I could not tell you which season is my favourite but the promise of each one brings its own excitement, evokes different memories and brings different produce into my kitchen.
What is your favourite flavour of Cornwall?
A moment in time, a call to the coast, a place for all of your senses, bringing new life into your kitchen with stories and recipes from me.
What ingredient couldn’t you do without?
Herbs and wild flowers are the sound of music through the seasons. Cooking would mean nothing to me without herbs. Herbs always make me feel positively joyful, their colour, shape and scent, they are so clever and diverse.
What was your most memorable meal?
Autumn days walking across the golden beaches at Harlyn and then hunkering down for a long lunch. I often get asked what my last meal would be, I think it would be an ingredient associated with a place. A peach perhaps eaten in Provence where my grandparents use to live with the rolling hills of lavender, rosemary, thyme and the fragrant pine trees above and the hum of the familiar sound of crickets. That will do.
Why did you become a chef?
Food for me is not about a meal as such but about ingredients associated with a place. A moment in time, making memories. I love nothing more than bringing people together.
What is your food heaven?
A perfectly ripe peach or melon.
What is your idea of food hell?
Rice pudding. I would so love to love this nursery classic but it is most definitely a food hell.
What’s going to be big in 2021?
I have been talking about my passion for simplicity for many years, less is more. Simplicity and using seasonal ingredients will be the focus of many chefs more than ever.
Her debut cook book will be released in May 2021. emilyscottfood.com
All Photographs by Beth Druce
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life’s September 2020 issue. Find out about our latest suscription deals here.