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  • Published in Food & Drink Special for Devon

New Fish on the block

It has the largest fishing fleet in Devon so it’s no wonder that Brixham is attracting top quality chefs to cook the fish straight from the sea. Kate Haskell meets the new boy in town Andy Sewell

Andy Sewell is Head Chef at the Quayside Hotel

Photographs: Matt Austin

To say Andy Sewell is the new boy in town is a tad unfair because he has been living and working in Brixham far longer than any other top chefs that might have opened up shop in Brixham in recent years, but he isn’t as well known…yet!

As head chef at the Quayside Hotel in the heart of the town he has certainly forged a great reputation; holding an AA rosette for the past seven years for culinary excellence. This is what Andy feels sets them apart from the other fish outlets in the town: “There are a lot of very good fish restaurants when you come to Brixham. When you see what it is all about and the port’s heritage you just want to eat fish, so we cater towards the fine dining side of things more than just fish and chips.”

Andy Sewell is Head Chef at the Quayside Hotel

The location of the hotel means that it is in a fantastic position to make the most of the local produce as Andy explains: “I have a fantastic individual supplier who will ring me, even on my day off, to say, ‘I’m on the fish market and I’ve got this fish and that fish at this price do you want it?’ He brings it 100 yards round to my door and I prepare all the fish myself.”

This very practice enables Andy to have an ever changing menu, written every morning depending on what is available and when its gone its gone: “Ninety per cent of what we do on our menu is fish, straight out of the sea and onto the plate. We don’t mess around with the food too much; when you’ve got such a good product all we need to do is enhance it.”

After 35 years in the industry and 15 of them spent cooking in the French Alps, it is easy to see Andy’s complete love of cooking. By his own admission it is also his hobby and it’s this mixture of enthusiasm and talent that has led him to become a bit of a hit at the local food festivals.

Andy confides: “I was a bit nervous at first but basically I am a natural show off so I soon loved it! I do the festivals to promote Brixham as much as my style of cooking, but also the guys that go out every day risking their lives to bring the fish to us.

“Brixham is my adopted home, having been here for 25 years and I want to show it off and tell others about it.”

The locals are already clearly on board with Andy’s ethos as, after writing a weekly column in the Herald Express newspaper, people started suggesting he should put the recipes he was sharing in a book, so he did.Andy laughs as he tells me: “People recognise me in the street and tell me which one they have tried and what worked for them. It’s great fun.”

As for the future, Andy is working towards more awards, enjoying the food festivals and trying to fit in as much paddleboarding and surfing in between his split shifts as he can. After all, he does live by the sea.

Andy’s book, Brixham Cook Book is available from The Quayside Hotel, Brixham or online with Amazon.

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