“It was Kurt’s idea.”
When Rick Stein found out that Kurt Jackson was painting the Camel from its source on Bodmin Moor to Stepper and Pentire Point, he describes how, “it fired me up to match what he was painting with cooking.”
The result is a three-month long exhibition of paintings by Kurt Jackson at St Petroc’s, Padstow, entitled A Bite of the Camel which kicked off with an inaugural seven-course meal last Friday 16 May.
“It seemed logical to marry this essence of the Camel in my art with someone equally passionate about the Camel and to collaborate with Rick and Jill Stein,” explains Kurt.
The French talk of terroir to describe the sourcing of food, that magical combination of geography, geology and climate, which defines flavours and produce. Our own watered down and over-used local and seasonal has been much abused but when we get it right, as we often do in Cornwall, our sense of terroir is as good as anywhere.
Last Friday was terroir-tastic as each dish followed Kurt’s journey along the river to the sea (albeit in reverse): oysters, razor clams, mussels, sea bass, monkfish and beef, with a final flourish of sea buckshorn panna cotta with Cornish strawberries, buttermilk and borage.
It was stunning, simple, exquisite. Monkfish that wanted to be sushi it was so tender, Camel bass as sweet as it was fresh and a hunk of slow-cooked brisket that wanted to be steak but had better flavour.
The exhibition runs from 16 May at St Petroc’s Bistro, Padstow for three months. Guests can view the collection free of charge in the hotel and all the original artwork is for sale to the public with prices starting from £3000.
A Bite of The Camel – limited edition celebration catalogue – introduced by Kurt Jackson and Rick Stein, will also be available to buy at the exhibition £15. A limited edition print of A Few Dog Walkers in the Sunshine, Polzeath, January 2014 is available from kurtjacksoneditions.com for £150.
All photos by Fred Wobus