Posted tagged ‘dartmouth’

Dartmouth Food Festival details announced

June 17, 2015

Dartmouth Food Festival returns this October with a mix of delicious regional food and drink, chef demonstrations, workshops, lively food debates and fun for all the family.

Set in the beautiful Devon estuary town of Dartmouth in the South Hams from Friday October 23 to Sunday October 25 it celebrates the very best food, drink and culinary skills from the south west.

Chef Mitch Tonks will be taking to the stage to host cooking demonstrations and will be joined by a host of other exciting names in the food world and local food heroes with the likes of Simon Hulstone, Darrin Hosegrove and Nick Evans from Rick Stein‘s St Petroc’s Bistro sharing their skills. 

Wine seminars will once again be led by wine expert Susy Atkins so expect an exciting, informative and highly entertaining programme.

Mr Tonks said: “The Dartmouth Food Festival is a celebration of the fresh and exciting produce we have available to us locally. With the coast and countryside on our doorstep and the strong character of our farming community, we are able to produce some of the very best, truly delicious food and drink.” 

New for this year, the Embankment, Quay and Royal Avenue Gardens venues will be open until 8pm on the Friday so visitors can browse and enjoy the stalls while soaking up the festival atmosphere. The Festival Bar will also be open until 8pm on both Friday & Saturday, so visitors can make the most of their trip before enjoying a meal in one of the town’s many restaurants and eateries.

The popular Eat Your Words event is back. Taking place in The Flavel Church in the heart of Dartmouth and sponsored by Corinium Care, the event provides a forum for informative and fun talks on food and drink. With highly regarded chefs, writers, producers and critics taking to the stage to lead discussions, the event will also include taster sessions.

Confirmed sessions include Mouthwatering TV with David Pritchard, in which the television producer who brought us Keith Floyd and Rick Stein will spill the beans on what it’s like to work with some of the nation’s favourite foodies. 

Advice for Aspiring Food Writers will feature Orlando Murrin, founding editor of BBC Good Food magazine, and Rosemary Barron, author and journalist, offering advice on how to make it in the world of food writing from building a blog to bagging a book deal.

How Green is Your Business? will examine the ways in which a growing number of food businesses are going green with Lucy Siegle of The Guardian and The One Show, joined by award-winning chef Tim Bouget

Fishing into the Future, with award winning restaurateur and seafood champion, Mitch Tonks, will discuss the future of fishing with Dartmouth crabber and chairman of Fishing into the Future, Alan Bennett.

The Flavel Arts Centre will once again be the venue for a series of events including our Festival Feast, Wine & Food matching sessions and, back by popular demand an amazing Saturday lunch with an Italian theme devised and created by chef and food writer, Jane Baxter.

Families visiting the festival will find many activities to keep the little ones entertained in the children’s marquee. Activities on offer will include biscuit decorating, face painting, apple bobbing and the ever popular flag decorating competition.

Entry to the festival is free with a charge for some events. 


Top food and drink names to help Dartmouth Food Festival celebrate its 10th birthday

October 7, 2012

Some top names from the world of food and drink will help Dartmouth Food Festival celebrate its 10th birthday at the end of October.

Mitch Tonks, Mark Hix, James Tanner, Fiona Beckett, Giles Coren, Henry Dimbleby, Thomasina Miers, Holly and David Jones, Richard Bertinet, Tom Parker Bowles, Joyce Molyneux, Matthew Fort, Jane Baxter, Christine Smallwood, Steve Lamb, Mark Puckey, Serin Aubrey and Monty Halls are among those who have already confirmed for this year’s cookery demonstrations and discussions.


Autumn Flavours: Mitch Tonks’ monkfish roasted with 50 cloves of garlic, olives and basil

October 5, 2012

When planning a Sunday lunch, fish doesn’t often get a look in amongst all the meat choices, largely I think through tradition but also because we aren’t familiar with serving a whole fish on the table.

It is a wonderful experience, a real sense of occasion and this dish is perfect for four or more people sharing lunch.

Don’t be put off by the 50 cloves of garlic, during the cooking the garlic loses its raw pungency and become incredibly sweet, part of the enjoyment of this dish is the squeezing out of the garlic cloves onto your plate.

It makes a wonderful combination with the monkfish and the warm oil takes on all the flavours of the dish and is lovely spooned over creamy mashed potatoes or mashed squash.

Serves 4


1 fennel bulb, very finely sliced
Small glass dry white wine
50 cloves of garlic, skin on
250 ml / 8 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
1 monkfish tail weighing about 1kg / 2.2 lb prepared as above
1 tsp fennel seeds finely ground
1 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly roasted and crushed
1 birds eye chilli
A handful of black olives
6 tomatoes, cut in half
A handful of basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

To make:

Pre heat the oven to 220c.

Take a roasting dish and spread out the fennel on the bottom, add the wine, olive oil and garlic cloves then sprinkle in the ground fennel and coriander, then crumble in the chilli and add the olives. Squeeze some juice from the tomatoes into the dish then add them.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and rub in a little ground fennel seed all over it then sit it in the oil on top of the vegetables. Roast for 30/35 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 4 or 5 minutes, there should be a white milky juice flowing from the fish as it rests, this is the protein in the fish naturally leaking out during cooking.

Stir in the basil, and after the oil has cooled slightly season to taste before serving whole at the table surrounded by the vegetables and with plenty of oil, olives, tomatoes and basil spooned over the top, a little lemon juice added to the oil sauce can be a good idea. You will find the fish comes easily away from the bone as everyone gets stuck in, it can be quite and occasion. I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and spinach or braised fennel.

Mitch Tonks is an award-winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger who runs RockFish Grill & Seafood Market in Bristol and The Seahorse and RockFish Seafood and Chips in Dartmouth.

Recipe taken from The Aga Seafood Cookbook by Mitch Tonks published by Absolute Press

Rockfish Devon wins Best Restaurant award

November 12, 2010

RockFish Seafood & Chips in Dartmouth scooped the award for Best New Restaurant in this year’s Devon Life Food & Drink awards at last night’s awards ceremony held at Sandy Park in Exeter. RockFish beat off competition from all other new restaurants in the county to whom the award was open to make the final shortlist of 3 restaurants going on to win.

Owners Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse were delighted, Mitch said, “This is a great success for us and the whole team who have worked really hard since opening in June to make RockFish the place to eat fish and chips. We’ve had over 30,000 eating with us since we opened and big thanks must go those customers who are Devon Life readers who have given us this big stamp of approval, we’re thrilled!”

RockFish is also shortlisted in the final four for the Best Newcomer in the UK-wide Seafish National Fish & Chip Awards which takes place in January.

Mitch and longstanding business partner Mat Prowse opened this family seafood restaurant just a few doors along from their acclaimed Seahorse restaurant on the South Embankment in Dartmouth in June this year aiming to provide top quality but affordable local fried fish. The uber chic interior of this 70 seater restaurant has a beach feel about it and diners can choose from regular favourites such as cod and haddock and local fish from the market including
whiting, lemon sole & gurnard which are all served up in stylish card take away style boxes.

Review: Rock Fish Devon

October 26, 2010

Tables: Stiff

Should I review a humble fish and chip shop? Because at the end of the day, that is what Rockfish Devon is – a fish and chip shop with a higher emphasis on quality, both of food and experience, than your usual chippy. I wouldn’t blog every time I went to get fish and chips, that would become monotonous (Francine’s is the best in Plymouth by all accounts) so should I write about one just because there is a name (Mitch Tonks) attached?

Yet the South West Twittersphere has abounded with people remarking on its charms, which did make me want to visit. Well, that and the fact that I am a fish and chip aficionado. So I have ummed and ah’d for the last few days. And went for it. And I’m glad I did, because this is a sort of Fish and Chip Shop Plus.

I took my girlfriend to RockFish after we had spent a day wandering around Dartmouth, seeing the sights and enjoying its excellent food festival.


Italian breadmaking at Manna From Devon

October 18, 2010

Bread, of Devon.

“It’s ok, you’re meant to have a much wetter dough than most people think.”

Fine reassuring words from David Jones as I looked down at what was meant to at some point become a focaccia loaf. As he spoke with the assured clipped bark of the former Naval man he is, I couldn’t help but worry a little. Mainly because my ‘dough’ currently had the consistency of runny porridge.

I was at Manna from Devon HQ in Kingswear, just across the River Dart from Dartmouth,  to learn about making bread – specifically Italian bread. As soon as I stumbled in late thanks to rural Devonian roads, I was at a disadvantage. Two other people are on the one-day course. One was Miranda Gardiner, a local writer and cook who at the time was about to published a cookbook (very good flapjacks). The other is Moira, a lady from Somerset who was on the second day of a two day cookery boot camp, a 40th birthday present from her husband. Given that the closest I had come as a 30-year-old man to making bread previously was pouring flour and other ingredients into an automatic bread machine, I had the feeling I may not shine here.


Tonking great fishing and chips

June 21, 2010

Mitch Tonks today becomes the latest chef name to move into fish and chips.

RockFish Seafood & Chips is not a take-away but a place to sit in and eat “top-quality but affordable” local fish, breaded, battered or grilled alongside some traditional specialities like cracked South Devon crab, jellied eels and potted shrimps.

The 70 seater beach hut themed restaurant adds to the chef’s current Dartmouth offering, being three doors down from the Seahorse, and partners his RockFish restaurant in Bristol – which I have tried and like very much.

“The Spanish and Italians have a great love of seafood and a respect for really good fresh food, so much so that they import a lot of fish from the UK, I want to spread the word and make sure that people here get to enjoy this amazing produce,” says Tonks. A fine sentiment.