Meet the Chef – An interview with Glen Merriott
Describing his style of cooking as ‘comfort food which isn’t busy on the plate but packs flavour’, Glen’s dishes allow the seasonal ingredients to sing. He cites the likes of Tom Kerridge and Nathan Outlaw as his biggest influences, while his ideal meal would be dining at Paul Ainsworth’s Number 6.
First and foremost, Glen and the kitchen team are family. Their love and respect for local, seasonal food shines through in every dish that is carefully created and presented to diners in the restaurant and conservatory.
We spoke to Glen to find out a little more about what’s currently on the menu.
What ingredients are you loving cooking with at the moment?
We’ve been getting wild mushrooms that are foraged locally, ceps and girolles, which are featuring in lots of dishes. There’s a wild mushroom risotto with grilled ceps, a delicious plaice dish with hazelnut crust and artichokes that we’re including them in and on our steak menu, there’s a wild mushroom sauce.
What can diners look forward to this autumn?
Duck and lamb are still being served and we’ll be getting game in shortly, venison and pigeon.
Then as we head into winter there will be plenty of hearty, comforting dishes…slow-cooked and braised meats, root vegetables and cod, monkfish and scallops from the Simply Fish guys in Looe.
Tell us a little bit about the menus -
There is just one menu presently, being served in both the brasserie and restaurant at dinner time. Afternoon teas are served from 12 pm to 3.30 pm daily and on Sunday we have roasts available at lunchtime, from 12 pm to 2.30 pm and again in the evening from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm.
We’ve worked some of the classics from the brasserie menu into the evening menu, such as day boat fish and chips and mussels in cider. The menu is split into ‘from the garden’, ‘from the sea’ and ‘from the farm’, which encapsulates our focus on using the best, seasonal and locally sourced produce.
Do you prefer savoury or sweet?
I favour savoury dishes when I’m cooking. But I’m a savoury chef with a sweet tooth! Paul heads up the patisserie team in the kitchen and I’m a huge fan of his chocolate and cherry sphere.
What was your first kitchen job?
When I left school, my brother was working in a pub in Polperro, and my mum threw a set of chef’s whites at me and sent me off to join him. That was my first kitchen porter job. I then went on to work a ski season in France cooking in a chalet before joining the Talland team on Valentine’s Day 2008.
If you could work in a kitchen anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would have to say The Grill at the Dorchester Hotel.
Where’s been your best meal out in the past year?
We’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much opportunity, but when places first opened after lockdown last year we went to the St Kew Inn and that was great.
Where’s on your wish list of places to eat?
I’d love to go to Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers in Marlow and Nathan Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac.
Aside from Talland Bay Hotel, where else is good to eat around Looe?
I’d recommend the Old Sail Loft. It’s owned by one of the partners in Simply Fish and Nick Hawke, the former head chef of Talland Bay Hotel is cooking there. Enough said.