Our new apprentices visit Bre-Pen Farm by Jane Sarchet
We would like to introduce you to our new contributing blogger the fabulous Jane Sarchet AKA @hedgecomber
Over the year Jane will be visiting some of our amazing suppliers and producers with our 10th cohort of apprentices and will share these stories with you so you can learn a little part of what we do here at Fifteen Cornwall. The sourcing trips we undertake with our apprentices are a vital part of the programme, helping them to understand provenance, supply and seasonality.
Bre-Pen Farm: April 2015
The new 2015 apprentices took their first field trip of the year to meet one of the restaurant’s suppliers this week, and I tagged along to find out more about them and the training they receive at Fifteen Cornwall.
The day started a mere 20 feet out of the car park on the slip way to the beach, where training and development chef Karl introduced the young chefs to some of the wild greens that grow in abundance on the Cornish coast.
Plants like rock samphire, sea beet and wild garlic are all out for the picking at this time of year and thestudents got to taste a little as they went. They weren’t terribly impressed by some of the flavours on their own, especially from the bitter sweet Alexanders (a plant which must be correctly identified as there are similar looking plants that are poisonous) but it was pointed out that you don’t need to pay a penny for top quality fresh greens when you know what you’re looking for.
Next we walked the breathtaking stretch of coast from Watergate Bay to Mawgan Porth where farmers Rod and Jill run Bre Pen, a National Trust farm with outstanding views down over the village and beach
When they took on the ex-dairy farm back in 1996 it was in bad shape, in a bad agricultural economy, and they had to pull out all the stops to make the farm profitable again. They’ve since turned the 170 acres around growing mainly sheep and spring barley with a side line of 250 laying hens, a busy B&B, farm shop and tea room. They work extremely hard but clearly love what they do.
After a tour of the farm we arrived back at the tea room which is an idyllic spot to relax on a sunny day. We sat outside watching chickens scratch around the farmyard and all enjoyed Jill’s scrummy lamb burgers on Da Bara bread rolls. Delicious!
A quiz followed to find out who’d been paying attention throughout the day, and I’m ashamed to admit that the majority of the students beat me hands down! A quick display by Rod’s sheepdog finished off the day perfectly before we all headed off home.
The apprentices were great fun to hang out with and I’m really looking forward to watching them grow in confidence over the next few months and blossom into professional and competent chefs of the future.