South Sands Hotel’s Coastal Forage – Event Report


South Sands Hotel hosted a Costal Forage led by expert Devon Forager David Harrison and Michelin-starred Chef Simon Hulstone and a surprise bug cookery demo by Peter Gorton!

Expert forager David Harrison led top chefs and catering students for South Devon College around the stunning South Sands cove, rocks and costal scrubland.  As the various edible plants and weeds were discovered, chef Simon Hulstone showed fellow chefs the best way to incorporate the haul of sea plantain, Wild Carrot and Mallow  into their restaurant menus.

“Sea Plantain is fabulous in risotto, this important thing is not to over-cook it so add it near the end of cooking time.  Rock Samphire is great as a cooked herb on top of roasted fish”!

Simon Hulstone, Chef Patron, The Elephant, Torquay

Rock Samphire, Sea Beet and Ivy Leaf Toad Flax all grow in abundance in and around South Sands Beach – Now Chefs’ Forum Member Chefs and students from South Devon College  know exactly how to identify and cook with these fabulous wild, free ingredients .

David also warned the group against mistaking similar looking species like confusing  deadly hemlock for harmless chervil.

The fantastic Peter Gorton then performed an impressive bug cookery demo of Thai-style meal worm risotto with a good helping of personality and humour, then garnished with samphire!

Peter Gorton recently held a ‘bug night’ with Mr Smitters (entomologist, Plymouth University) at his Devon restaurant ‘Gorton’s of Tavistock’.  The critters went down a storm at a sell-out evening – They proved equally popular with Chefs’ Forum Members at yesterday’s event, Peter Said:

“In a few years time, bugs will be far more mainstream. Other cultures eat them as a staple as they are an incredible source of protein.  You have to compare it to sushi 20 years ago.  People said they wouldn’t take it, but look at it now. You see it in a lot of restaurants and supermarkets, so who’s to say bugs can’t be the next superfood?

Chefs munched on meal worms, crunched crickets and lunched on locusts in the great tasting risotto cooked in the demo to around 50 top Devon Food Heroes!

Chefs also enjoyed a delicious barbeque cooked by Head Chef Stuart Downie of South Sands Hotel showcasing local fish and meat, then tutored coffee tasting by Owen’s Coffee, Modbury.

The Chefs’ Forum continues to go from strength to strength with more chefs realising the importance of inspiring the next generation and engaging with this extremely positive organisation.

The Chefs’ Forum aims to enhance the skill sets of top chefs in industry through updating them with the latest techniques being used by their peers – This time it was costal foraging for menus and the versatility of bugs as a credible ingredient – This also motivates and inspires students and shows them how amazing ‘chef life’ can be!

chefs forum

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Author: Chris

He may look very complicated, but he is in fact very simple. He runs on sausages and beer. Co-founder of Eating Exeter. Librarian at Exeter College.

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