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Revelations: Val McArthur, recipe chef, Riverford Organics, Devon

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Revelations: Val McArthur, recipe chef, Riverford Organics, Devon

What was your best subject at school?

Geography. I still know my oxbow lakes from my interlocking spurs

What was your first job?

In a fish shop. My filleting skills left a bit to be desired

What was your first job in catering?

A private chef on an estate near Killin, Perthshire. I was there for the hunting season. Let’s just say I can cook a good roast

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Homemade granola with yogurt and fruit. I’m pretty healthy

What do you do to relax?

I run. I live near Dartmoor, so I’m lucky to have some amazing trail runs on my doorstep

Which is your favourite restaurant?

The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye. I travelled the full length of the island along twisty lanes in torrential rain to get there. It was worth it

What’s your favourite hotel?

Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. It’s luxury in the middle of 1,000 acres of protected rainforest

What is your favourite drink?

Gin. My favourite is a local Devonshire gin, Papillon

What is your favourite cuisine?

Moroccan and Middle Eastern food. One of my favourite restaurants is the Barbary. They do an amazing slow-cooked octopus with a chickpea stew

Which ingredient do you hate the most?

Cheap, mass-produced white bread

Are there any foods that you refuse to cook with?

Ready-made mashed potato has to be pretty pointless

What do you always carry with you?

A sense of purpose

Describe your ultimate nightmare?

Being trapped in the giant meat freezer at Riverford

Which person in catering have you most admired?

Raymond Blanc. To be self-taught and to have achieved such success is truly inspirational

Tell us a secret…

I’m addicted to milk. Ice-cold in the summer and hot with honey and whisky in the winter

What is your favourite prepared product?

Belazu Rose Harissa

If you had more time, what would you do?

Travel South America

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