I’ve read Eat Love Pray and pretended to hate it (but there is nothing not to like about stuffing your face with pizza in Naples); I got addicted to Carol Drinkwater renovating an impossible house in the south of France and I’ve read Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons (the follow up wasn’t as good). I’ve even had a go at some D.H. Lawrence in Italy and had a dose of realism from Tim Parks and Peter Robb. But the romance still lingers: a long table in an overgrown garden behind an old Tuscan farmhouse, sea in the distance, jugs of local wine on table filled end to end with family and friends. continue reading
The world of food is undoubtedly a male-dominated one. I say this not as a feminist but simply as a matter of fact. I wrote a piece on the Great British Menu 2012 in which it was noted that only one out of the 24 contestants was female. In an interview last year, Angela Hartnett described how she had to prove to Gordon Ramsay in her early days that, “I could last in the kitchen like men could.” continue reading
When I first set out on this ‘blogging thing’ in January 2011, I never imagined it would become this addictive or that I would be this faithful to the virtual bunny – dear reader, I get angsty if I don’t post, I post and all is good with the world.
It is the the thrill of instant publication, reading the stats, receiving comments and subscribers that send my fingers to the keyboard and the little arrow to the blue ‘Publish’ button time and again. Without the readers there would be no thrill, so thank you all very much to those who subscribe, comment or just look every now and then. Your support for the spicy bunny is invaluable. A big thank you too to all those food producers, chefs, restaurants, gardeners and general food enthusiasts who have suffered my note-taking in pink pen with such grace.
To send out the old and ring in the new, here is a selection of photos from 2011, the very first Year In The Life Of saffronbunny:
Last week saw me sitting down to blinding sun and a ‘sunglassed’ lunching companion overlooking St Ives’ Porthminster beach. Memories of camping just outside the town with university friends, living on a shoestring but managing to indulge in spider crab, white wine and cream teas (not all together of course) came flooding back. Those days long gone and the friends having moved on, there was a sense of nostalgia in coming back to this artists’ retreat by the sea, awash with lucid sky light. It brought back my first visit to Barbara Hepworth’s house and garden, left as if she had just walked out moments earlier or my great faux pas of giving my bottom time out on a gold chair in the Tate and being shouted at to shift aforementioned bottom as the chair was actually part of an exhibit. continue reading
The story of Baker Tom isn’t unlike a comforting nursery rhyme. After a gap year in India, Tom came back to the UK and started working in a farm shop. One day, this little farm shop couldn’t find a bread supplier. Tom went home, baked four loaves, and biked the bread back to the farm shop. The bread sold out, Tom got on his bike and baked more, the bread sold out again and again and the farm shop, Tom, his bike and his bread all lived happily ever after. Until, that is, the bread got too big for Tom. It grew and it grew but it didn’t blow this man down. He biked the bread to not one, but two farm shops and got his own kitchen. Then one day, disaster struck: Tom was run over. But he picked himself up, blood wounds and all and still delivered his bread. continue reading
Saffronbunny has a cup of tea with Karl Jones, Training and Development chef, at Fifteen Cornwall
Karl has been in Cornwall for more than 20 years and with Fifteen Cornwall since day one.
“I basically line manage the students and my job is to make sure we deliver the training we promise whether in the kitchen or down in the college at Camborne. I tend to base most of my time in the kitchen to ensure the apprentices stay on track.
“We do expect the odd problem in the early days; we take some guys on who, perhaps in the past, have had no respect for themselves or the authorities, so why do we suddenly put them in whites and expect them to have authority for our head chef for example? It’s quite interesting that when they do put whites on, it seems to change them, but we mustn’t just expect that. It’s a process and it takes time. We expect the odd hiccup on the way, otherwise they wouldn’t be on our program. It’s an important thing for us all to remember.
“The course itself is quite tough: we expect them to work early mornings, late evenings and bank holidays. It’s a fast track course, with one on one training, plus a couple of seniors overseeing what’s going on. For myself it’s definitely hard work, not just physical but mentally at times, we naturally take on some of their outside issues, but it’s so rewarding to see the transformation. They gain a sense of self- worth and self-belief and if we’re able to get them to a point where they can get up in the morning, earn a few quid, be employable, they’ve still come a nice distance from where they started when they joined us.
“The program is totally working, there is no doubt about that, even yesterday one of the guys pitched up at college from cohort four, showed me a photo of his new car, told me he’s got a new job, just buzzing, living the dream really! It’s so rewarding.
“When you talk about job satisfaction, I get so much more satisfaction from seeing that than I ever did putting out a good plate of food. Because it’s real, it’s people. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”