An Interview with the talented Paul Ripley, head chef at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Falmouth, Cornwall.
An interview by UrlaubCorwall the best guide to holidays in Cornwall or Urlaub In Cornwall as the German say.
Paul Ripley took over Rick Stein’s Seafood Bar in Falmouth last year bringing them back together again after 10 years. Paul was previously head chef in the world famous seafood restaurant in Padstow, leaving in 2000 to run his own restaurant where he became one of only a few chefs to achieve a Michelin star in his first year.
UrlaubCornwall: When did you first start working with Rick Stein?
Paul Ripley: In 1988 I was given his (Rick Stein) first book as a Christmas present and I read it from start to finish in about 2 days. I thoroughly enjoyed it and then I saw he had placed an advert in a catering magazine. So I thought I’d apply, and after two interviews I got the job. I came down from London to Cornwall to become Rick’s number two in the kitchen. Obviously as his programmes took off, so he became less and less involved in the kitchen and promoted me to head chef.
UrlaubCornwall: What is special about the new Seafood Bar?
Paul Ripley: The original Champagne and Oyster Bar was expanded adding grills, a fryer and other equipment to enable us to put a number of new dishes in the bar. Not just oysters and shellfish, they are still on the menu but we are doing a few more things up here now. Not even just fish, we’re doing a couple of meat dishes as well now. It’s going really well.
UrlaubCornwall: What style of food do you serve up here?
Paul Ripley: We feature dishes from Rick’s new book about Spain. And the dishes from that have proved really popular. We’ve got a tapas theme going on, where people try a lot of smaller dishes. It’s an intimate atmosphere and sitting at the bar you’re almost in the kitchen watching the food being prepared for you.
UrlaubCornwall: What’s your favourite dish on the current menu?
Paul Ripley: I like the scallop dish, which has become our signature dish. It’s with Guindillo peppers and chillies, tomato and Serrano ham. The scallops are put under the grill with a few breadcrumbs.
UrlaubCornwall: How much local produce features in your menus?
Paul Ripley: Rick prides himself on using as much local, sustainable English produce as possible. It’s the best in the country we think. Cornwall’s got some of the best ingredients, best produce and now some of the best restaurant in the country as well.
Cornwall is in the running to be officially named as the top county in England for food. We find out in the next couple weeks if we’ve won it would be great for the chefs down here.
UrlaubCornwall: You must be able to get some of the freshest fish in the country in Falmouth?
Paul Ripley: Yes, we pride ourselves on using the freshest fish. Even the chip shop uses all the freshest stuff. It may be a couple of quid more than ones down the road, but if you could see the fish coming in the morning you’d see that it’s definitely worth paying a little bit more for.
UrlaubCornwall: The chip shop seems very popular, how is it going?
Paul Ripley: Downstairs is ticking over really nicely. Rick’s been pleasantly surprised how it’s been going since we opened in the restaurant in Cornwall Falmouth. Rick just wanted to be part of the up and coming food scene there is in Falmouth, hence why he chose it for his restaurant.
UrlaubCornwall: Thanks for your time Paul and good luck with the Spanish menu.