Name: Allister Bishop


Workplace: South Sands Hotel, Salcombe, Devon


When did you first decide to become a chef? I always loved cooking from an early age, so it seemed like a natural progression to train professionally soon after school.


What training route did you follow? I went to Plymouth Catering College and completed my City and Guilds qualification 706-1 /706-2 over two years, then finished it off with a year as a stagiaire in Switzerland.


Do you have a signature dish? I wouldn’t say I have a particular signature dish but more of a style which leads the creation of most of my dishes. I follow the seasons and forage as much as possible from the coast and countryside around Salcombe and the South Hams. We use what we can get so my dishes are lead by the availability and sustainability of ingredients.


Which ingredient(s) do you particularly enjoy working with? Working in Devon I am like a kid in a sweet shop. We get lamb bred minutes from our hotel, lobsters from around the South Downs headland and beef from Dartmoor. Our foraging – from seaweed to mushrooms – is all local to the area as well.


What makes your restaurant stand out? It’s a relaxed dining experience with just the most amazing view that transforms the atmosphere. Because of the tide, the weather and the seasons the sea looks different every day – it’s mesmerising. With local outstanding products all sourced within miles or even minutes of the hotel our guests really get the sense of the seasons, and sustainable eating, whilst dining.


What food do you cook at home? At home I love to keep it simple with one pot cooking……there’s too much washing up otherwise!


What is the most rewarding part of your job? Two things really. Firstly, creating new dishes from raw ingredients and secondly, mentoring my chefs to grow and develop on to becoming even better chefs.


What has been your biggest challenge? Recruitment hands down. It’s tricky to find chefs with the combination of the right aptitude, those that aren’t looking for that X factor moment and are willing to put the hard work in. I’m lucky to have a great team with me in the kitchen at South Sands hotel at the moment.


Which of your work achievements are you most proud of? Making it to be an Executive Chef of a top London 5 star property from 2006-2011. It was also a fantastic opportunity to be Executive Sous Chef at Harrods from 2011-2015.


Which person/company operating in the food and drink sector do you most admire and why? Simon Richardson from Cornish Foraged Harvest. He is so passionate about foraging from the wonderful countryside and coastlines here in the South West. You’ll find him out in all weathers looking and searching out amazing products for us to use and sample.


What are your most important ethical considerations (for example, issues such as the environment, organic food, Fairtrade etc)? Sustainable fishing and excellent animal husbandry.


What would you like to be doing in five years time? Still doing the same as I doing now, working with likeminded people producing amazing food.


Describe your perfect meal? I believe the perfect meal is not just about the food, it’s the complete package including great friends, drinks – and the food! Example?

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