James Strawbridge started working in television over 20 years ago alongside his family in a show called Not Easy Being Green, and then The Hungry Sailors. He is a chef, author and food photographer based on the Cornish Coast and focuses a lot on sustainable living. Find out more about his story to stardom and get his top tip from his enlightening cookbook, Salt & The Art of Seasoning.
COMFORT FOOD AT HOME
How did you come to work in food and television?
I started working in TV about 20 years ago when I was at Uni. I was a part of a few TV series based in Cornwall for BBC2 with my family called It’s Not Easy Being Green, which was about going self-sufficient and growing all our own food and making our own electricity. It was a great way to learn about media and food from the ground up. At the same time I was working in restaurants cooking and the two worlds very quickly came together. I then went on to co-present a series for ITV with my dad Dick Strawbridge called The Hungry Sailors.
What do you enjoy most about living in the South West of England this time of year?
Probably the rugged weather and getting any Monday morning cobwebs blown out by the rough seas crashing into the Cornish coast. The coastal paths at this time of year are far less busy and offer a real window to watch the changing seasons. I love taking the dogs out each morning along Hall Walk near Fowey and Polruan and noticing how the landscape changes from day-to-day. It’s a privilege to get to witness the micro-season and I love foraging so it provides plenty of amazing nuts and berries in Autumn to bring back to the kitchen.
What do you love most about Falcon in the kitchen?
I love our rustic cooking heritage and for me Falcon represents that past. Cooking culture often becomes very trend obsessed with obscure viral recipes and loud looking dishes that in my opinion, sometimes eclipse good old fashioned food. I love that with Falcon you can dedicate care and attention to a humble family-friendly crumble and get rewarded with empty bowls at the end. I love the perks of demonstrating kitchen patience - after you've put on a slow roasted joint to roast for 3-4 hours and then assemble a pie with love sealed in a golden butter shortcrust pastry. For me Falcon is the perfect toolkit to build comfort food at home. Plus as a food photographer the quality looking enamelware Falcon produces always makes food look like it’s going to taste great before you even dig in - sort of a nostalgic teaser or tummy crowd-pleaser!
Are there any particular recipes you're enjoying cooking in your Falcon at the moment?
I’m loving autumnal tray bakes with local sausages, apples and squash plus my hedgerow crumbles are now a weekly recipe in our house - apple and blackberry goodness!
Can you share your top tip from your most recent cookbook, Salt and the Art of Seasoning?
Try making a flavoured salt to use on a tray of roast vegetables, pumpkin and squash or rubbed into a whole joint of meat… It’s as simple as combining a good sea salt with finely chopped rosemary, lemon zest and cracked black pepper, mix in a bowl and keep in a sealed container. Use these flavoured salts for cooking or finishing a dish. In my book I’ve got loads of ideas to share from seaweed salt to red wine salt, smoked salt to chili salt. Give it a go this autumn!
Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
My top 5 food and drink companies who I recommend checking out are:
- 44 Foods for quality British food & drink delivered to your door
- W Stevenson of Newlyn for a quality fishmongers
- Harbour House Flushing run by Jeffrey Robinson for a pub meal out
- Fal Oyster Fest for a fun weekend out
- Naturaw for raw dog food
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