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Devon Life meets Ben Kingdon, head chef at the Cary Arms in Torquay

PUBLISHED: 17:05 02 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:35 20 February 2013

Devon Life meets Ben Kingdon, head chef at the Cary Arms in Torquay

Devon Life meets Ben Kingdon, head chef at the Cary Arms in Torquay

Ben Kingdon joined the Cary Arms team in 2009 and has since worked his way up the culinary ladder from sous chef to head chef

Meet the chef...


Ben Kingdon joined the Cary Arms team in 2009 and has since worked his way up the culinary ladder from sous chef to head chef

What is your earliest food memory?

Family meals: Christmas dinners, mums roast chicken and crispy potatoes. I grew up in Torbay so we ate lots of fish as well as homely hearty country food.

How did you get into cooking?

I always liked to help my mum in the kitchen and watch what she was doing.

What made you decide to become a chef?

I was inspired by my mum and the atmosphere of the kitchen at home.

What was your first experience of cooking professionally?

At the Livermead Cliff Hotel - watching a very classical chef making traditional food enthralled me.

Did you ever have any outstanding successes or disasters in those early days?

Disasters include burning my hands and successes include being crowned Poultry Chef of the Year at the Great British Pub Food Awards in 2010.

How did your career progress?

I started at the Redcliffe Hotel in Paignton, then the Livermead House Hotel (very old school). I also worked at Hennessys before moving to the Cary Arms.

What sort of foods and flavours inspire you today?

Seafood and very earthy wintry foods.

What are your food hates?

False stocks: gravy powders, stock cubes.

Do you have any signature dishes?

I enjoy cooking creedy carver duck breast with a baby pear sauce.

How important is sourcing for you?

Very important indeed you need to know youre getting the best quality ingredients.

Who are your preferred suppliers?

Gibbons, the family butcher in Exeter, Kingfisher in Brixham, Steers for fresh fruit and veg, and the Kitchen Garden in Paignton.

Describe the best meal you have ever had?

I went to the Seahorse in Dartmouth for my birthday and I had a squid starter and a sea bass main course. Delicious!

Who inspired you in the cooking world?

Chris Bonning at the Livermead Cliff House - his dishes were so classical and he was passionate about what he did.

Who would you most like to have around for a dinner party?

Always family and friends.

Which ingredient could you not do without?

Good fresh local crab meat.

The Cary Arms, Babbacombe Beach
TQ1 3LX 01803 327110
caryarms.co.uk

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