CORNWALL FOOD HEROES: EMILY SCOTT
PUBLISHED: 14:43 16 November 2015 | UPDATED: 12:46 30 August 2017
© 2014 Theheadthetail/DanielScott
Food has always been an important part of Emily Scott’s life - and much of her inspiration comes from cooking in France while growing up...
Emily Scott is the chef-owner of St Tudy Inn in Bodmin. She trained formally at London’s renowned cookery school Tante Marie Culinary Academy but says learned most of her foodie skills by spending time in different kitchens around other chefs.She ran The Harbour Restaurant in Port Isaac for eight years, and from there created an outside event catering business. At the end of 2014, she became chef owner of St Tudy Inn (sttudyinn.com).
How would you describe your food style?
My food style is very simple, but with simplicity there is technique, and I always cook with the seasons.
I think it is important to eat with your eyes - I look to build flavours, and let the ingredients speak for themselves. I like my plates to look beautiful and delicate, and frequently use edible flowers and micro-herbs.
Who has been your greatest food influence?
My approach is quite old school, and my family has played a very influential role. Simon Hopkinson is one of my greatest influences. I love his style and the way he writes. Sally Clarke is also an inspiration. She has had her restaurant for 30 years and has quietly got on with running it.
How important is seasonality in your menu?
Following the seasons makes our work exciting and creative. Seasonality drives me and the way I cook. I like to change and evolve my menus constantly and this is key to what I’m doing at St Tudy Inn.
What is your favourite flavour of Cornwall?
I love that in Cornwall you are never far from the sea. I am inland here, and can source the most amazing game and meat. I can drive 20 minutes to the coast, and get the freshest crab off the boat. My location at St Tudy means we have the best of both worlds, but are also very close to both the north and south coasts.
What ingredient couldn’t you do without?
Lemons can completely dazzle a dish, changing the balance and the flavour. It is not just about the juice. The zest can be used for both colour and taste. I make a beef stew with carrots and artichokes which I serve with lemon zest and finely chopped rosemary. These additions make the dish.
What was your most memorable meal?
I have wonderful memories of sitting on my grandparents’ terrace in France at seven or eight years old eating breakfast with my family. My grandfather would take my sister and me in his yellow Citroen to collect milk from the local farmer. On our return my grandmother would have put freshly baked croissants and baguettes, local honey and juicy white peaches on the table.
Why did you become a chef?
I was a little bit lost for a time, but being thrown in at the deep end, working in a restaurant kitchen in France made me realise this is what I wanted to do. I went to catering college and decided if I was to do this, I wanted to do it well. I did quite a lot of private catering work, and after having my children there was an opportunity to take on The Harbour Restaurant. I love to bring people together, and being a chef allows me to do just that.
What is your food heaven?
My food heaven is to enjoy different produce in season: peaches, freshly-picked strawberries, and in autumn - blackberries and apples. I also love to eat a crab sandwich by the sea.
What is your idea of food hell?
As a child I remember being force-fed tinned rice pudding. I also dislike processed ready meals. With a little knowledge it is easy to cook simply, cheaply and healthily.
What’s going to be big in 2016?
I think fine dining will always be important, and we are very lucky in Cornwall to have such a range of dining experiences available to us. In general though, I think there is a shift towards simpler dishes on menus - dishes that you might cook at home but that feature fantastic, seasonal ingredients.
Now try Emily's favourite recipe:
This is one of my favourite puddings. I also make individual pear tarte tatins with cinnamon or banana as well as savoury versions including caramelised shallot tarte tatin and baby beet tarte tatin with a shallot and parsley dressing. This evokes memories of my time living and working in Burgundy.
6 normal sized eating apples
or 9 small ones
100g caster sugar
50g butter, cubed
a pinch of salt
500g puff pastry
Vanilla ice cream or clotted cream
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 5.
On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to approximately 5mm thick then cut out a circle about 5cm larger than the pan you’re going to use to cook the apples in.
Set the pastry aside. Peel, horizontally halve and then core the apples. Put the sugar and water into a large heavy-based skillet or ovenproof frying pan and place over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and then caramelises, turning a rich golden brown colour.
Do not, under any circumstances, be tempted to touch or taste the caramel – it is extremely hot and will burn you badly.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter then place all but one of the apples in the pan and stir them around to coat them in the caramel. Using a wooden spoon, turn the apples so that they are rounded-side down, cutting up the remaining apple into smaller pieces and using it to fill in any large gaps.
Place the pastry on top of the apples and tuck in the edges around the fruit, again being careful not to touch the caramel. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed up then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Place a large plate or board over the top of the pan and, using thick oven gloves, carefully, and in one confident manoeuvre, invert the tarte tatin onto the plate.
Cut into slices and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or clotted cream.