Where is On The Rocks?
We have two beautiful sites, one on each side of the Bay. On The Rocks Torquay is situated on Abbey Crescent, overlooking Torbay, and with an amazing view of Torre Abbey. Our Brixham restaurant is situated on the inner harbour, showing off incredible views of the harbour itself, and of the busy fishing port.
How long has On The Rocks been trading?
On The Rocks Torquay opened in April 2014, with On The Rocks Brixham following three years later, in July 2017.
When did you start cooking? Is there a particular memory you have of your childhood that made you want to be involved with cooking?
I love food, and like most people, I can always remember my mum’s wonderful cooking as a child, but I don’t think this is what shaped my path. I started working at 15, washing dishes at the Boathouse in Preston, before moving into the kitchen.
I took two years out when I left school to travel, and worked in many kitchens around the world. When I returned home, I started cooking at a very popular restaurant in Torquay, called Premier Cru. Sadly, this has since closed, but at the time, it was a high-flying establishment in Torquay’s fine Wellswood village. It had a vibrant cocktail bar on one side, and a fine-dining restaurant on the other. This was a really special place, and it holds many good memories.
Tell us about your personal style and how it’s evolved over your career?
My cooking style has evolved massively over the years. I can remember times when I wanted 15 different components on a plate. I was always trying to create the next best thing; working with ingredients and elements that were beyond my ability at the time. It wasn’t until I moved to London, and worked in some of the best restaurants in the country, that I began to hone in on my own style.
Moving back to the Bay, and opening On The Rocks has encouraged my style to mature. I have such respect for our amazing local ingredients and flavours, and the fact that everything is sustainable. We still think ‘outside of the box’, but now, we try to work backwards – instead of continually adding different ingredients and components, we try to allow the top-quality produce that we use on a daily basis, to do the work for us.
Where do you get inspiration from? Who are your foodie heroes?
I try to draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. My mind never stops, and I rarely sit still – I am always thinking of new innovations.
There are a few chefs and restaurants who I really love. I have recently been studying a masterclass with Massimo Bottura. He is truly one of the greatest Chefs in the world, and having had an insight into his thought process is truly remarkable.
What are you passionate about?
Being a small business owner myself, I fully respect and understand how much time and effort all sectors of this industry put into everything they do.
Whether it is a fisherman at sea, a farmer out harvesting, or a butcher selecting a fine cut, all of our suppliers work so hard, even before I receive their produce. They are the backbone for us as Chefs and Restaurateurs.
Without them, we are nothing.
What are your favourite ingredients? Are there any products or suppliers you would like to shine a light on?
I have been asked this question so many times in my life, and I always give the same answer. For me, it is impossible to choose.
I love working with fish, meat, pastry and vegetables… everything has the same value to me.
I have such respect for my suppliers and their amazing produce, which we researched very carefully at the beginning.
I have since developed great relationships with all of them; Roots Greengrocer and Seafarms, Brixham Sea Fish, Kingfisher, LG Palk, Gibbins Butchers, to name a few.
How have you as a business responded to the pandemic? Tell us about your DIY Devon Kits, how did you come up with the idea, and how are they going?
Obviously, along with the rest of the hospitality business, this pandemic has cast huge doubts over the future of the industry.
We are eagerly awaiting the go-ahead from the government to reopen both our restaurants. During this period of closure, I created a new company – DIY Devon Food Kits – bringing the people of Torbay and surrounding areas DIY Food Kits delivered to their door. I have restructured our restaurant dishes, and prepared them so they can be easily recreated at home.
I have been amazed with the feedback, and with how quickly this has taken off. People can literally recreate a restaurant-standard dish from their home, with ease. All the ingredients come fully prepared, portioned, and labelled, and are supplied with detailed, yet simple, cooking instructions. I also offer full cooking help and guidance along the way!
How do we order a DIY Devon Food Kit & when are they available?
We currently deliver every Wednesday and Saturday, and orders can be made through any of our social media platforms. Follow us for our DIY Devon Food Kits weekly menu, delivery details, competitions, and more. To order, for more information, or to join our mailing list, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a newly created, though rather basic, website, which can be found at: www.diydevonfoodkits.co.uk
Looking ahead- Can you tell us about any On The Rocks dishes that we can look forward to when you reopen your sites?
Throughout the summer, we get through an abundance of the best shellfish and local seafood from England’s Seafood Coast. I cannot wait to reopen our doors and showcase our mussels, lobster, crab and much more, in the coming months.
Is there anything else you’d like to say? What do you wish people knew about your job or industry?
Nothing is more important than everyone’s health, and it is tragic that lives have been lost due to COVID-19. That being said, it is now a time for solidarity; a time for everyone to pull together to help save the hospitality industry.
We will be in for a few hard years, trying to fight back from the damage sustained by the pandemic; not just in our industry, but right across the country. This is an industry that I have loved my whole life, yet never before have I felt such fear for the future.
Along with many other chefs and restaurateurs, I have worked so hard for so long to be the proud owner of two amazing restaurants. We have never, ever needed the support of local people, and of each other, any more than we do now.
Support local, stay safe, and stay strong!
How can we as a community support you as a local business?
Social media is such a powerful tool for small, independent businesses, so please head to DIY Devon Food Kits on Facebook and Instagram, like and share our pages, share photos, purchase kits if you can, and leave your reviews. You can also join our mailing list, by emailing me at email@example.com
When we reopen On The Rocks in Torquay and Brixham, please pay us a visit. We very much look forward to welcoming you!
ON THE ROCKS RECIPE
‘Chocolate, Vanilla & Passionfruit’ Chocolate Delice, Vanilla Pannacotta and Passion fruit Jelly.
This is a very simple, yet delicious and aesthetically pleasing dessert.
With each layer only taking minutes to make, this recipe allows you to go about your normal daily routine, while building a top quality dessert in the background; it can also be prepared well in advance of eating. By keeping the fundamentals the same, you can tweak this dessert to use many different combinations of flavour.
All measurements are in grams (as opposed to millilitres), to help with accuracy.
Start with the Chocolate Delice –
162g double cream
70g whole milk
185g 54.5% dark chocolate
Whisk the eggs and set aside, heat cream and milk together until simmering and pour over the eggs.
Stir and return to a very low heat, cooking for a minute or so until mixture begins to thicken. Be careful not to scramble the mixture.
Pour over the chocolate and beat until smooth.
Using a set of scales, pour 125g of mixture into serving glass & place in fridge. Whilst this is setting (1 hour), make your Vanilla Pannacotta.
Remember that if you want to leave chocolate in fridge and return later to do the next layer, you may.
270 double cream
145g whole milk
55g caster sugar
1.5 leaves (4.5g) leaf gelatin
Vanilla pod – scraped
Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 mins.
Heat cream, milk, sugar and vanilla, add the gelatine and stir till dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Once the liquid has cooled, pour 118g onto each chocolate dessert and place in the fridge – you should have 2 very clean-cut layers.
116g Passion fruit puree
1.5 leaves (4.5g leaf gelatin)
Soak the gelatine and squeeze off any excess water, add a splash of puree and gelatine to heat, and stir until dissolved. We don’t want to heat the whole mixture as this will affect the colour. Once melted, add to remaining mixture and stir.
Allow to cool.
Once cool, pour 60g onto each container, pour gently as we don’t want to pierce the top of the Pannacotta.
I find that pouring into side of glass or back of a spoon helps.
Allow to set in the fridge once set, serve as is, or with a scoop of ice cream.
As I said at the start, this recipe can be tweaked to create many different flavours and combinations; use a different fruit puree for the jelly, infuse your milk and cream with coffee for the Pannacotta… anything!
Use your imagination and pick the correct flavour profiles, and you will have a very special dessert for many years to come.
Written By: Austin Gosling,
Chef and Owner,
On The Rocks, Torquay and Brixham