Why I no longer call myself a foodie

saffron_bunny_food_journalism_cornwallBeing a foodie was great. Once. I ate the food of some of Cornwall’s best chefs, hung out at festivals with my press pass, stayed overnight in some stunning seaside locations, received countless edible freebies in the post and even got to take my tastebuds to the pistes of the Dolomites and sample some of Italy’s finest. Hell, I even thought I was a half decent cook myself.

Tell people about it and they are naturally very envious. My husband is a bit miffed that he no longer gets to piggyback onto my fine dining commissions. So why have I given it all up? What’s not to like about free food?

It all got very boring very quickly. Don’t hate me for being ungrateful, I feel extremely lucky to have cooked alongside Paul Ainsworth, interviewed Nathan Outlaw and eaten with Rick Stein, but I just can’t do it anymore.

Firstly, food ‘fashion’ does my head in. Just as education should not be the political football of every newly elected party, so food should be left alone to the test of time and taste. What’s all this nonsense about local and seasonal and it was Mr Brown from Muddy Farm who grew our carrots today? What a load of old supermarket fictional faff. Yes, I love to eat Cornish and respect the changing bounty of the seasons, but I don’t need it rammed down my throat (literally) as if it were a new ‘invention’. The French and Italians would laugh in our rosbif faces: they’ve been doing it quietly for generations.

Secondly, writing a review of someone’s business is a tricky business. Perhaps a PR company set you up with the gig, so it makes it somewhat ‘awks’ if you then go ahead and slate their client. You get dinner, wine, possibly an overnight stay, all for free, so can’t help but feel a certain obligation to string together some glowing remarks, even if you don’t like underdone lamb and the white wine is warm. And in case you hadn’t noticed, this is Cornwall not London and I am no Jay Rayner. I have no right to potentially ruin people’s businesses in an already tough industry. So I’ve given up the constant tight-roping of compromise. Call me a fool, but I’d rather go out and pay for my dinner these days.

And finally, the latest sugar-free food trend brings up just a little bit of sick in the back of my throat. Self-righteous media-luvvy ladies of loveliness who bathe in coconut oil, #eatclean, turn vegetables into spaghetti and think that dates have no sugar in them. Food has become an expression of moral superiority over others at which point it stops for me: I’m doing no kneeling in front of any courgetti altar and there’ll be no repenting of gratuitous pork fat snacking any time soon on this blog.

I’d rather embrace the amoral delights of sliced white toast with Marmite, the best meal I’ve ever eaten at Treliske hospital after the birth of my son. I think that means I have officially resigned from the lofty towers of ‘foodie-dom’.







How to hold a Lobster Massacre dinner party in 10 easy steps.


I write about food but as I get more and more jaded with food trends (local and seasonal, eat the whole pig, oh you’re making gourmet burgers, how unusual, everyone but probably not their dog are making them, and you say that you make your own bread, well that is wholesome yes yes yes, stab me now), I am becoming increasingly aware that I am not necessarily a great cook. Or host come to think of it. Read More

Cheese for geeks

Cheese is up there with coffee and wine. If you know what you are doing. For Mark Pitts-Tucker – official cheese taster at Davidstow – you can never have too much of a good thing. In a busy week, he tastes up to 700 samples at work and one of his favourite things is to go home and eat more. Read More

Great Chefs of Britain exhibition at The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

Food and art are never far apart and taste is as extricably linked to the eyes as it is to the tongue. From the palette knife that ‘smears’ an unappealing ode to Van Gogh across the plate to the smoky drama of Hestons’ now controversial nitrous oxide gas, the baking of bread to look like mangled body parts and Carl Warner’s stunning foodscapes, food can be art and art food.
Read More

Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 Padstow finally gets his Michelin star

Whenever I talk to people about the slate-roofed Grade II-listed house sandwiched between Stein outlets that is Paul Ainsworth’s No. 6, the response has always been the same. Until now. The question, “Why hasn’t he got a Michelin star yet?” in incredulous tones has finally been answered. As of yesterday, the team at No.6 found out ahead of time that they have nailed their first Michelin star.

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Squids in

saffronbunny-food-blogger-cornwallI originally fell in love with cephalopods: squid, cuttlefish and octopus – in Sicily, where I was lucky enough to live for a few blissfully foodie years. The markets were to die for, crammed with creatures that had died for the sheer pleasure of eating. The Sicilians know how to do food. We are merely beginners in comparison. I have a very vivid memory of a Sicilian fisherman ramming his fist deep into the belly of a live octopus, twisting and pulling back out again – within seconds, the octopus was sliced, diced and plated up with lemon for passersby. Real food for real people. Read More

2011: A year of saffronbunny in pictures

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:

Reviewing Nathan Outlaw’s masterclass with Tom Kerridge. (photo by David Griffen)

The best. Massage. Ever. Goldeneye resort in Jamaica.

Running into the sea with wooden toys – a revelation in water (photograph by John Isaac).

Learning to be a preserving goddess with Pam Corbin and Liz Neville.

A coiled ray wing with confit duck skin for lunch at Paul Ainsworth‘s Number 6 in Padstow for BBC Olive mag.

The multi-talented co-founder of The Tea Appreciation Society, Shayne House.

The first ever Clandestine Cake Club in Cornwall.

Two inspirational food friends: Joanne Schofield and Sanjay Kumar.

Discovering The Wheelhouse, Falmouth with MM of the GCG.

Chris Ranger and the March Oyster Gathering at Mylor.

Meeting and interviewing Philip Stansfield who won the world’s best cheese in November 2010 (spot Alex James in the background looking excited).

Bubbles and booze at BinTwo, Padstow.

Cooking with Paul Ainsworth.

My first ever focaccia waiting to go in the oven, a day of many firsts with yeast, baker Tom and Gastrogeek.

Crab apples at Tresillian House.

Meeting the moon gardener and guru John Harris at Tresillian House, an inspiration (photo byJohn Such).

The importance of foraging, especially for nettles.

Cooking and eating en plein air, doesn’t get much better.

Loving life in Cornwall (photo by John Such).