In conversation with Masterchef’s Ollie Hunter

on 09 October 2017.

Ollie Hunter is a local celebrity after reaching the semi-finals of Masterchef 2013, a programme that attracts around 5 million viewers.

This down-to-earth local lad reveals all about The Masterchef experience, his thoughts on what makes a proper pub and why authenticity is the key to success.

Ollie is now the co-owner of The Wheatsheaf Chilton Foliat with his wife Lauren, where they champion wood fired pizza, live music talent and a sustainable business award!

What was it like taking part in Masterchef?

“It was a totally artificial environment. What you see on TV is exactly how it is on the day. You don’t know what your next challenge is going to be which can be extremely stressful but the technical team and all the contestants are really nurturing. Everyone wants you to improve as a person.”

Were you disappointed to not get through to the final round?

“Of course you don’t enter a competition and not want to win but I always saw it as a launching pad for other things. It’s just a shame that millions of people had to watch it!”

What did you learn from the programme?

“I think the main thing I learnt from the programme was that authenticity shines through. You must be true to yourself and your style of cooking. There were things I cooked on the programme because I wanted to impress, rather than show my own style, which is what I have been doing ever since.”

What made you want to become a chef?

“I have to credit my family as I come from generations of foodie’s. Our celebrations have always centered around food and the whole family gets involved, it isn’t just the adults in the kitchen.

I’ve got fond memories of Cornish holidays: fishing for mackerel, gutting it and cooking it for dinner. I experimented a lot with food growing up and have always been passionate about cooking from scratch.”

What are your cooking influences?

“Travelling has massively influenced my cooking – my wife and I spent 6 months travelling Europe and stopping in places like San Sebastian, the food capital of Spain. We loved the energy from the food, the culture and the buzz.”

What makes a proper pub?

“A proper pub is a communal place to celebrate life, love and laughter but also a place to come together in sadness. Anyone is welcome: we have lords, tradesman, accountants – it should be a place that is felt open for all.”

What’s different about The Wheatsheaf?

“We want to make eating ethically and Organic easy for people. That means that 90% of what we serve is organic. Our meat is sourced from Hungerford Park farm and all our fish is delivered fresh from the Cornish coast. I will only buy crab from this fantastic little shop in Porthleven, they send it over fresh for us twice a week.”

You can catch Ollie at his pub The Wheatsheaf Chilton Foliat for Saturday breakfast, wood fired pizzas and the finest of Cornish seafood Tuesday’s to Sunday’s or visit their website: www.thewheatsheafchiltonfoliat.co.uk.

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