Five minutes with Paul Ainsworth
Known for his wonderfully creative dishes, inspired by Cornwall, Paul Ainsworth is one of Britain’s most popular chefs. As well as being chef-patron at Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow (which was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 and currently carries four AA Rosettes), Paul is also known for touring the country at popular food festivals and events. This summer, he’s launching his very own festival, Paul Ainsworth’s Travelling Feast, so we caught up with him to find out all of the details.
What’s your very first memory of food?
When I was growing up we had a rhubarb patch in the garden and I have early memories of my dad making rhubarb and apple crumble.
What’s the first recipe you properly learned to cook?
Full English breakfast.
What’s the one recipe that you can’t live without?
Which food do you absolutely hate?
I don’t hate any food, but I’m not a massive fan of olives.
What’s the one ingredient that you’d take to a desert island with you?
Cornish sea salt.
What’s the meal you’d miss the most whilst there?
You can have a one-off dinner party on your desert island… who would you invite and why?
My wife Emma CiCi and my dogs, Freddie and Flossie – because they’re my world. I’d also invite Sir Alex Ferguson – I’m a huge Man United fan and I’d love to pick his mind about leadership. I’d love to have Valentino Rossi there – I’m really passionate about motorbikes and he’s an absolute racing legend. Next up, I’d have Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock – because he’s super-inspirational. For music, I’d love Sam Divine to be there – I think she’s super-cool and would bring the most amazing vibe and tunes. And finally, I’d invite Tom and Beth Kerridge – they’re always at every special party my wife Emma and I have held.
Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
Frantzen – I’ve only just received it, and with the busy Cornwall summer ahead, it looks like a desert island might be the only place I’d find time to read it.
How were your plans affected by Covid-19?
Overnight, everything suddenly changed. The restaurants had long periods of closure, and we had to change the way we looked after our guests and introduce social distancing when we were finally able to re-open. We missed being able to see our family and friends, and our little girl missed being at school, but we’re no different to anyone else in that respect – it’s been so tough for everyone.
Which meal did you cook the most throughout lockdown?
Baked Cornish cod piperade, Cornish mussels and basil mayonnaise. This dish was born out of lockdown. I used to check my businesses in Padstow every day and saw the fishermen trying to sell their fresh fish from the quayside as restaurants – the outlets for their fish – closed overnight. So I tried to support them by buying as much and as often as I could. The recipe uses fresh fish and some everyday store cupboard ingredients.
And what did you binge watch on TV?
Where’s the first place you ate at once restaurants reopened?
The Pig in Harlyn Bay with my wife Emma to celebrate my birthday.
Tell us some more about your new foodie festival, Paul Ainsworth’s Travelling Feast?
It’s a 15-day gastronomic food and music festival. I’ve invited some award-winning chef friends and some amazing street food vendors to join me on this amazing travelling adventure. Plus, there will be music from Kaiser Chiefs, Tom Odell, Jake Bugg and more… We’re planning to move from place to place around the beautiful coast of Cornwall, staying in stunning beachside and rural locations. Festival goers can come for a day, camp for a few days, or join us for the whole tour. It’s going to be amazing, and I can’t wait!
Which element of the festival are you most looking forward to?
All of it! What could be better than listening to great music while eating delicious food in some stunning locations? With Cornwall looking to be really busy this year, it’s also allowing people to bring their tent or motorhome and join us for a music and food holiday, choosing different parts of the Cornwall adventure.
How can people get tickets for Paul Ainsworth’s Travelling Feast?
Via the Travelling Feast website: www.travellingfeast.co.uk Can’t wait to see you there!