Meet the Chef at the Hartnoll Hotel, Tiverton, Devon

PUBLISHED: 15:22 15 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:55 20 February 2013

Meet the Chef at the Hartnoll Hotel, Tiverton, Devon

Meet the Chef at the Hartnoll Hotel, Tiverton, Devon

Talented Steve Cox, Head Chef of the Hartnoll Hotel, Tiverton, devon, is grilled by Harriet Mellor

Sample Menu

Seared scallops served with cauliflower coulis, seared chorizo and micro salad, 8.95
Roasted cannon of Somerset lamb, dauphinoise potatoes, fine ratatouille and confit garlic served with a thyme and apricot jus, 17.25
Seared fillet of brill set on black olive risotto served with squid tempura, sauted spinach and a fish velout, 17.50
Ice cream cheese board: frozen Exmoor Blue with candied walnuts, Somerset Brie in leeks and cream cheese with chives, 6.95
Roasted plum mille feuille with meringue wafers, roasted plums, Clootes cream and lemon sorbet, 6.50

The Hartnoll Hotel, Bolham, Tiverton, EX16 7RA 01884 252777
Open seven days a week for breakfast through to dinner

The Hartnoll Hotel in Tiverton combines the trappings of a boutique hotel with the eclectic feel of a rambling country house. But its not just on the map as a rural escape, its restaurant, under the wing of award-winning Head Chef Steve Cox (above left) and Sous Chef Alan Adlem (right), has an impressive reputation and is on the must-try list for the countys gourmets.

A lot of my recent career has been spent cooking around Exmoor. Ive been at the Hartnoll since October 2009, and before that I was at was at Ashwick House in Dulverton. I was awarded Rosettes at Tarr Farm by Tarr Steps and the Royal Oak at Withypool.

Our customers are going crazy for our ice cream cheeses. They are often intrigued when they see them on the menu so we send out a little taster and they nearly always order it. They come in Devon blue, and goats cheese wrapped in leek and red pepper, and Im just experimenting with a smoked Wedmore. My Sous Chef, Alan, came up with the idea. He used to work with Michael Caines at the Royal Clarence. His hero is Heston Blumenthal.

Im happy experimenting and developing recipes. Ive been asked to donate a recipe to a cookbook, so today Im playing around making a confit with some salmon and trying out cooking temperatures. Im quite proud of my new braised oxtail terrine ox tongue and fois gras which comes with a celeriac pure and pickled vegetables.

I started working in a kitchen when I was 14 and still at school. I was in the Grand Hotel, Northamptonshire, doing the dishes and peeling the spuds but whenever someone was ill the chef would get me to help out.

It certainly wasnt my mothers cooking that inspired me to become a chef. All her food was murdered by being cooked to death at 100 degrees, but I think everybody cooked like that back then.

I live 195 miles away and spend four hours driving home to West Wales on my days off. Ive always worked away so my wife, Emma, knew what she was marrying into. Even though other people think its weird, its just normal to us.

Weve got twin girls who were two in January so Im on full-time kids duty when I get back. But I did make baby food up in batches as soon as my girls started eating solids and now Im introducing them to spices. Emma doesnt cook that much. She says why should she cook when shes married to a chef!

I would say my signature style is modern cuisine with global influences. I did travel a lot when I was younger, especially in Asia, Australia and India, and Im very into those flavours. Our vegetarian dishes are called A Taste of India. And we mix all our own spices.

We dont even use French cheeses. Thats because we try to source locally. Gerald David & Family is our butcher, over the border in Somerset, who win awards for their meat. Ive used Bob from Exmoor Fish & Game for years.

But the best meal Ive had recently which really sticks in my mind is at Lucknam Park near Bath. Its got a Michelin star, for both the food and the service.

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