Chef’s Table: Jack Stephens
In the run up to Taste of Scilly month, we caught up with Flying Boat head chef Jack Stephens to talk tasting menus, cocktails, and favourite dishes.
Here on the islands, Taste of Scilly month is a real highlight of the year – everyone, especially those of us who work in the restaurants or are involved in cultivating local produce, really looks forward to September and the foodie events we’ve got planned.
For me, this year’s Taste of Scilly month is an opportunity to showcase dishes featuring my favourite Cornish, seasonal produce – I’ve developed a six-course tasting menu which will be on offer on set evenings throughout the month which I hope will do just that.
September is a great month for food – cod, cuttlefish and oysters, all featuring on this tasting menu, are all in season and will be at their best. The beef cheek dish is full of big, hearty, autumnal flavours, and the cod dish and more delicate cuttlefish course really build up to this moment. I’d describe it as refined comfort food, and a lot of it has been inspired by what I’d love to eat at this time of year.
We’re having a great season at the Flying Boat – I’m lucky to have a fantastic team in the kitchen as well as Beáta and her team working front of house. Having such a strong team behind me has allowed me to push the food that little bit further this year, doing some really interesting things with the menu.
Two of my favourite dishes on this year’s lunch menu are the monkfish bao buns and the squid and tiger prawn tacos. The chunky monkfish goujons and Asian-style slaw combine really well, and the tacos are perfect as a light lunch on a warm day. As for the dinner menu, the Bryher lobster is really special – it’s fantastic to work so closely with the Pender family on Bryher to source shellfish from our local waters.
Another exciting addition to our menus this year is the selection of Abbey Garden cocktails – the Flying Boat is a great spot to enjoy a cocktail while watching the sun set. It makes sense to include some of the unusual botanicals found in the Abbey Garden – delivered fresh to our kitchen door by the gardeners themselves
I’d recommend our signature cocktail The Boathouse, created by our bar manager Beáta – it features our Tresco Abbey Garden gin in a tasty fusion with Chambord, ginger ale and spearmint from the Abbey Garden. The Crushed Lemon Pimms Pitcher is delicious too – great for sharing on a hot afternoon.