Luke Fearon is to launch his first solo venture following his recent departure from the Treby Arms in Sparkwell, near Plympton.
The Devon Food Movement will begin as a pop-up experience, taking residencies across the county and beyond, before Fearon plans to secure a permanent site.
His aim is to showcase the best produce from Devon and take it to different and unusual locations from fields to farms.
When in Devon Fearon will source his prime ingredients from within a five-mile radius of his pop-up, while when on tour they will be sourced from within five miles of his house.
Speaking to The Caterer today, Fearon said: “I know Devon quite well, but I want to challenge myself to find the last little suppliers that I don’t know about before I set up a permanent residence. For the last six years I’ve been refining exactly what it is I want to be doing. It’s a challenge and I’ll have to work a lot harder, but I’m not scared of the hard work.”
The dishes he creates will not only change seasonally, but circumstantially depending on where he pitches his pop up. “Obviously, I don’t have a base kitchen, which makes things a little more difficult. My crockery, plates and pans will change constantly alongside my heat source! There’s going to be no consistency there, but every dish will be full of flavour. We’re going back to basics packing lots of flavour into dishes with a great story to them,” he said.
On 12 April, the Devon Food Movement will visit a mushroom supplier called Forest Fungi. The dishes will include mushrooms from the farm and guests will be invited to have a tour of the growing areas. Fearon has worked with owner Scott Marshall for years.
“He was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and found there to be something within Shiitake mushrooms which helped to aid the recovery period. He started the company as a personal venture and since then it’s grown massively, as he’s one of the only UK growers of Shiitake mushrooms,” Fearon explained.
The chef’s belief that it is “imperative” to build relationships with suppliers is a driving force behind his tour. He explained: “I’ve always said we are the middle men for world-class ingredients, Devon has world class ingredients and we don’t grow them but we try to treat them with respect and put them on the plate in a way that is interesting. If you don’t have a relationship with your supplier then you don’t have a product to sell. There are some amazing chefs that buy produce from around the world and that works for them, but it doesn’t for me.”
Alongside seasonal dishes and produce, Fearon will also be collaborating with local businesses to create “store cupboard” products. He’s currently in the process of making pheasant salami in partnership with the Rusty Pig restaurant in Ottery. “Everywhere you go in Devon you see pheasant, it’s about turning something really recognisable into something unique.” He said.
“I haven’t been this happy about food for a very long time. It’s given me a really fresh insight to go away and think about new things without having to think about how much money it’s going to cost me and ask if it fits in with my style.
“I’m always up for cooking in new venues and for collaborating. So if anyone’s interested get in touch, I’m happy to come to someone’s area and learn about it while producing great food.”
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