This month we meet Head Chef Jordan Hatfield from Babbacombe Bay Cafe, located in Babbacombe, Torquay.
When did you start cooking?
I first started cooking at the age of 16, so almost 17 years ago now. My older brother Daniel was a chef at a hotel in Wiltshire, and he offered me a part-time job for the summer which very quickly turned into a full-time job and permanent career.
Tell us about your personal style and how it’s evolved over your career?
I love the social aspect of food, and for me, the best at this are the Italians. I am always inspired by the way they take such simple ingredients and get the absolute most from them. The rustic, traditional meals are my favourite foods to cook. Fresh fish, marinades, breads, pasta…and desserts of course!
Anyone in the catering and hospitality industry will know that, in our trade, we miss a lot of family time, and when I became a parent my attitude towards cooking changed too.
At home, the kitchen is the perfect place to spend quality time with family and friends. Mealtimes in our house are the foundation to our family. The children love to cook, they have a good understanding of where food comes from. It also gives them independence and a skill they can take with them through life.
What can you tell us about Babbacombe Bay Cafe & How have you approached the menu?
When we took over at Babbacombe Bay, we wanted to keep the relaxed family feel while adding a modern and vibrant approach to our food. We have refreshed the breakfast and afternoon tea menu, and used fresh seafood at the forefront of the new lunch and dinner menu.
Babbacombe Bay was originally a hotel, and the restaurant was occupied by the hotel landlord. Now the restaurant is independent, and offers a more expansive menu and style, while enjoying views from the highest seaside promenade in the country!
What are your favourite dishes on the menu?
Roasted hake and salmoriglio. This is a typical example of an Italian marinade and how it can turn a simple piece of fish into a perfectly balanced dish. However, the limoncello parfait is also up there as one of my favourites. I have a killer sweet tooth.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I base a lot of my menus on things I have done traditionally, but I try to reinvent them – either by the way we plate the food, or by combining two dishes together to create a new one.
I read about new style foods and watch loads of cooking programmes, and these are great ways to get ideas for something new. I have lost count of the times I’ve started cooking something at home because I saw someone cook something and knew I had to try it myself.
What are you passionate about?
In terms of cooking, one of my biggest passions are where our food comes from. So many people buy and eat foods every day, while having no idea where it came from or what is in it.
If everyone were a little more educated on what we are eating, we could have a better appreciation for the effects certain foods can have on our health and the environment.
Which other local restaurants do you usually like to eat out at?
Number 7, On The Rocks, Curious Kitchen, and The Orestone Manor.
What’s your favourite cookery book?
Gordan Ramsey’s Sunday Lunch, and The Chef’s Compendium.
When you are not at the Babbacombe Bay Cafe how do you like to spend your time?
Family time, DIY, and growing all sorts of things at the allotment.
These are uneasy and uncertain times. How have you as a business responded to COVID-19?
We are a relatively new business, and since opening in June every month has been a new challenge.
We react to the demands of the business and to the ever-changing guidelines. We offered a take-away service for the month of June, provided restricted service in July, and took part in the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme in August.
Like most other businesses, we have adapted life in accordance with the guidelines.
How can we as a community support you as a local business?
I believe the main thing we could ask for in the hospitality industry is for the local community to give us patience and support when dining out in the current climate.
Customer service is always a tough job, mentally and physically, and with the added elements we have to incorporate into our daily work routines, we really appreciate those who understand and support us.
With the new guidelines demanding table service throughout, more frequent cleaning routines, and for all guests to be seated and greeted, we have more responsibilities than ever before – while operating with less staff and reduced turnover.
The margin for error is borderline zero, so your support is highly appreciated!