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Posted on Mar 13, 2017 by

Fowey, with its narrow streets, boats bobbing in the estuary, and beautiful views across the water to Polruan, is not your typical battleground. But for one evening in February, it was fight night.

Richard Massey, head chef at The Old Quay House Hotel, hosted the first leg of The Great Food Fight – a contest which sees him go head-to-head (or saucepan-to-saucepan) with Tim Pile, head chef at sister hotel The Rosevine.

Each chef was charged with preparing two dishes of the four course set menu. The menu itself was kept a strict secret until the night, and we had no idea which chef was cooking each course.

The restaurant at The Old Quay House had been re-arranged into one long communal table, to encourage guests to discuss the food with one another. Restaurant manager Brandon introduced each dish, explaining the ethos and ingredients, but importantly not revealing which chef had cooked it.

We scored each dish for presentation, flavour, ingredients and wow factor. (We also awarded ourselves unofficial bonus points if we could guess which chef had cooked each course).

The first appetiser was mackerel tartare with dill, salty fingers (a sea herb, similar to samphire) and capers that had been fried to a delicious crisp. This was followed by poached plaice with lightly battered cauliflower, puffed wild rice and an incredible curry sauce – creamy and slightly spicy.

We were able to make a fairly educated guess at which chef prepared the main course – the pork fillet was from Kilhallon Farm in Par, supplier of Fowey butcher Kittows – located just around the corner from The Old Quay House. The cleverly concealed apple sauce (inside what looked like a miniature apple) was a nice surprise on a delicious plate of food.

To finish, a new take on the Cornish favourite ‘thunder and lightening’ – clotted cream and golden syrup torte with a gin and lemon sorbet.

Two nervous-looking chefs emerged from the kitchen after a tense evening at the stoves. Votes were counted (and re-counted following cries of ‘fix!’ from some in attendance), and home chef Richard Massey announced as the winner on the evening by just a few points. But with the second leg taking place at Tim Pile’s The Rosevine on Thursday 30 March, the ultimate champion is yet to be crowned.

Places can be booked by contacting The Rosevine on 01872 580 206, priced at £35 per person. Packages with dinner, bed and breakfast are also available for £149 based on two sharing.

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