A HOTEL in Falmouth has announced it has hired a new head chef to head up its restaurant.

Cornish-born Aiden Blakely-May is the new Head Chef at Rastella, the three AA Rosette restaurant in the luxury Four AA Star Boutique Hotel, Merchants Manor in Falmouth.

Rastella is Falmouth’s Highest Awarded Restaurant.

After working in restaurants in London and across the county, including 2 AA Samphire Restaurant in Falmouth, Aiden joined Rastella as sous chef in 2018 and has steadily progressed to his new position.

With a genuine passion for street food and a fascination for ancient cooking techniques, he leads a team using ancient techniques in modern ways to produce great food.

Examples of this include fermenting home grown Cornish chillies to make sriracha, working the restaurant’s five-year-old yeast for sourdough and making Rastella’s own mirin and soy sauces for pickling and curing meats.

Aiden said: "To some fermenting is the latest thing, the fashionable way of enticing diners always looking for something new – to others it’s one of the oldest cooking methods, that’s just been overlooked for a few hundred years or so.

"A lot of the food and drink we consume is the result of a fermentation process – we just don’t see that.

"Mead is perhaps the oldest drink made in Britain by the fermentation process – but so is beer and even sourdough bread, yoghurt, salami, cheese – the list is almost endless.

Falmouth Packet: Aiden Blakely-May is the new Head Chef at RastellaAiden Blakely-May is the new Head Chef at Rastella


"Fermentation is hiding in clear view in foods we eat nearly every day.

"We are just extending its reach a little."

Aiden’s new menu will combine ancient techniques with dishes Rastella is famous for; meat and just-landed fish cooked over a red-hot grill for, foraged foods from secret locations and dishes inspired by nature.

Aiden describes his food style as "pared back elegance packed with flavour."

Aiden continued: "The Cornish harvest is all about feast or famine, with some of the crops lasting only a few weeks, so we use preservation and fermentation techniques to remove the challenges of hyper seasonality.

"Whether this be using koji to create miso from ancient Cornish grain or preserving Cornish citrus to enjoy the season’s best when the cupboard runs bare in the winter.

"We work with local artisan producers nose to tail to create a sustainable no waste food chain."