Episode 42 Steven Lamb
River Cottage – Part Two

Welcome to the second part of my conversation with one of River Cottage’s linchpins.  He’s Steven Lamb, often fondly referred to as the ‘ham and cheese’ man, because he’s the author of the River Cottage handbooks on ‘Curing and Smoking’ as well as ‘Cheese and Dairy’.  

We’re turning back the clock now, to when Steven’s fascination for charcuterie and cured meats began… 

Episode 41 – Steven Lamb
River Cottage – Part One

If I say ‘River Cottage’ to you, what comes to mind?  Perhaps one of its campaigns: Fish Fight, or Chicken Out or War on Waste.   Or maybe you’ve got one of the River Cottage handbooks, diving deep into foodie topics, from cheese to charcuterie.  

That’s the striking thing about River Cottage and its team: the variety of what they do. What started as a docu-drama, following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s attempts to set up his own smallholding 20 years ago, has now grown into a cookery and chefs’ school; three award-winning kitchens and the base for amazing banquet-style get-togethers.  

Steven Lamb has been part of that journey, pretty much from the beginning. He arrived as the team’s new media expert, helping to build its presence online. But nowadays he’s better known as the Cottage’s curing and smoking guru, as well as its expert on cheese and dairy.    

In this, the first part of our conversation, we’ll explore the evolution of River Cottage and Steven’s own career, leaving Big Brother behind to embrace hospitality ‘from a standing start’.   

Episode 37 Mitch Tonks
Award winning chef, author & TV

This week you meet a champion of the sea and of preparing seafood simply and sustainably. Whether you’ve got one of his cookery books, visited his award-winning Seahorse and Rockfish restaurants or watched him on TV with world class rugby player Matt Dawson, you’ll know that Mitch Tonks is one of the country’s most fervent ambassadors for fish   

You’ll hear just how fervent, when he talks about the planetary benefits of freezing fish; whether prawns should be on or off the menu and what he’s doing to make sure that the rubbish his trawlerman collects from the sea isn’t dumped straight back into the ocean.  

He’s also great on the difference between real hospitality and the stage set version and why the willingness to chat is a must if you want to become a restaurant owner. 

I thoroughly enjoying spending time with Mitch, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy this weeks conversation.

Episode 33 Michael Bremner
BBC Great British menu winner

Getting to chat to Michael was awesome, like meeting my brother from another mother.  But he has a way cooler accent!  I share Michael’s views on a great deal of issues around hospitality…not least his thoughts around reviews, tripadvisor and the like.  This really was an utterly delightful conversation.

You may already know Michael from the BBC’s Great British Menu programme.  In 2016 he did pretty well, getting to the finals. A year later, he went one better, winning the entire competition and the chance to prepare a banquet for Wimbledon Tennis Club. 

Actually, Michael Bremner wasn’t a stranger to preparing great food under the watchful gaze of the people just about to eat it. When he opened his first restaurant, 64 Degrees, in Brighton in 2013, he designed the restaurant so diners were just an arm’s stretch away from the chefs. They could see the dishes coming together right in front of them. (The same early design also forgot about a bar: you’ll hear how that turned out later!) 

In the next hour you’ll also discover how avoiding food envy has shaped Michael’s award-winning menu…and how he and his partner Carla (who gets legendary status in this edition) had the wherewithal to open a second, very different restaurant only months after his marathon at Great British Menu. 

Episode 29 James Golding
The Pig restaurants with rooms

James Golding’s impressive chef career has come full circle. Yes, he’s worked with some very big names in London and New York. He learned his craft under Anton Edelmann at The Savoy and then moved to Le Caprice, working for Mark Hix. And as Head Chef at Soho House in New York, his team cooked for A list actors, music stars and royalty.  

But he began his culinary journey in and around the New Forest, foraging for mushrooms with his dad, and getting ‘bored out of his mind’ at Mr Bartlett’s, the butchers, when his parents were having nice chats about cuts of meat.  Fast forward around 20 years and James is back in his childhood stomping ground of Hampshire and Dorset.  

And as Group Chef Director of THE PIG, he makes sure that all the restaurants source their ingredients either from their own kitchen gardens or from producers within a 25 mile radius.  That includes beautiful cuts of meat, which James turns into British charcuterie with – wait for it – Mr Bartlett’s son!   

Passion has definitely replaced boyhood boredom, as you’ll hear…