Food and Drink January 14, 2011
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John Burton-Race in defence of Devon

It is great to see Devon and Cornwall being placed on the map as a region that is so rich in quality food and drink. So many people travel from all over the country specifically to sample the wide range that's on offer, and I consider myself very lucky to both live and work in such a brilliant environment.

In fact I think of my restaurant as a shop window for local producers and suppliers in Devon. I have spent a lot of my time driving around Devon sourcing the suppliers, going to farmers markets, visiting small holders, speaking to day boat fishermen and building up a network of people that are as passionate and mad about food, as we are here at the New Angel. Ninety percent of all my ingredients are sourced from the local area, and I believe the quality of this produce, be it Blackawton Lamb, Crediton Duck or Dartmouth Crab, is second to none.

Take my lamb supplier, Stanley Wreyford. All his life he has reared lamb on 80 hectares overlooking Blackawton. They are mainly Poll Dorset ewes, crossed with a few black-faced Suffolk rams. They roam freely, eat lush grass and I can confidently say that they are the best I've ever come across - absolutely stunning. Eighty percent of all Britain's crab comes from the Darmtouth and Salcombe coast and my supplier, Anthony Buscombe goes out to sea everyday and catches the most delicate and sweet crab I've ever sampled. Simply add a little butter and spice and you have a beautiful dish

For years I had been chasing Michelin stars, but moving to France for a year in 2002 completely changed my outlook of what quality dining is all about. Over there, eating and socialising are one. Everything from the quality fresh ingredients and the way they are prepared, to the informal and relaxed way in which they are enjoyed, make for me, a far more gratifying experience. Subsequently I have now adopted a simple culinary philosophy here in Devon, and I can do this because it has all of the qualities that enable us to enjoy a similar food experience as in France. We've got a beautiful county full of such a wide range of quality produce, and a relaxed way of life that enables us to enjoy and savour every single sight, flavour and texture.

I can honestly say this region's got the lot, and for me I wouldn't want to live, nor indeed work, in any other area of the UK.

John Burton-Race


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