Chef of The Week: Paul Stephens, Head Chef at Mullion Cove Hotel

How long have you worked at Mullion Cove Hotel?
Two and a half years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
When I was younger, my father and I used to walk down to Mullion Harbour, fishing rod in hand, catching pollock, sea bass and mackerel from the harbour wall. With my parents having limited cooking ability and time, it was usually left to me to create something with these wonderful fish. My passion grew from here as I always wanted to prepare the catch differently each time.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The ability to use my imagination to create different flavour combinations and also the rush that comes following a cracking service.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without
Being classically French-trained, they would have to be butter, cream and salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Simple, clean dishes with very few ingredients, letting the quality shine.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Ego. Too many young chefs are entering the trade thinking they know it all – experience matters and they should learn from the chefs before developing their own style.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Autumn as I love cooking with game. Venison is my all time favourite autumn meat.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
This is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child. If pushed, my new oyster dish, which combines fresh Fal River oysters with the flavour of Pimm’s and mint granita.

How do you come up with new dishes?
They always come to me in the shower after a busy service.

Who was your greatest influence?
Ollie Couillard, the Head Chef at the Dorchester during my time there in 2005.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Nathan Outlaw, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal.

What is your favourite cookbook?
The Fat Duck Cook book due to its openness and honesty – Heston is one of the best chefs in the world and he shares his secrets.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Jude Kereama at Kota in Porthleven. I know he’s already well established in the industry but his dishes on the Great British Menu are inspiring.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
The Trevilder at Thurlestone Hotel in Devon. It recently re-opened its doors after a complete refurbishment. The food is excellent, the view is amazing and they have the best service in Devon.