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Meet Emily Scott

We chat to Emily about her first year at Watergate Bay, her recent sell-out Carousel London residency, cooking for the G7 world leaders, and the inspiration behind her new set menu… Watch the film and read the full interview.

It’s about coming together around a table with good food, good wine and a stunning location

— Emily Scott
Emily Scott Food restaurant overlooking the beach

What does food mean to you?

“Food is about so many things for me – not just being a chef and creating a dish. I think about a sense of place, and how food is bound up with nostalgia and memories – like picking strawberries and eating them from the punnet, making jam with my grandmother, or sitting on the Platt at Port Isaac looking out towards the harbour wall, eating a crab sandwich. It’s about different smells and colours; engaging all the senses.”

On the joy of simplicity…

“I talk about no faff, no fuss cooking a lot. For me, the joy is in the simplicity of what we’re creating at the restaurant. It’s wonderfully informal, relaxed and uncomplicated.”

The new set menu evolved naturally. We’re cooking within the ebb and the flow of the seasons, showcasing local Cornish produce at its best.

On your new set menu…

“Everything I do at the restaurant is always very considered, and changing my menu is something I’ve thought about for a long time.

“The new set menu evolved naturally. We’re cooking within the ebb and the flow of the seasons, and showcasing local Cornish produce at its best. There might be ingredients on there that you haven’t tried before, but I think that’s the joy of eating out. “It is a set menu, but it feels relaxed. People can expect the most amazing seafood and fish. And I have a sweet tooth, so pudding is always a thing!”

Emily Scott

On your recent Carousel London residency…

“Being in Cornwall, I’m on the periphery of the London scene, so to get asked to do a week-long residency at Carousel was really exciting, because they’ve hosted some amazing chefs. It was such a wonderful week – back in the trenches, apron on. We just did exactly what we’re doing here at  Watergate Bay but in the heart of Soho. We did five nights, and it was full every night, which was such a confidence boost and it was exhilarating. Thank you Carousel".

On seasonal flavours…

“The menu is dictated by what’s in season and what’s available. I love every time of year, so enjoy the changes. We’ve got a soft-serve ice cream maker, and are making very specific flavours for each season. We’ve just had an incredible Cornish saffron bun ice cream, which tastes like you’re eating a buttered saffron bun.”

On what Emily cooks at home…

“There’s a bit of a joke in my family, because when I was first working very hard as a chef, there was never any food in our house! But that’s changed. Now, it’s all about simplicity, seasonality and shopping locally – similar to how I think about cooking at the restaurant.

“My essential shopping basket would probably include good olive oil, parmesan, herbs, lemons, Cornish sea salt. One of my favourites is spaghetti puttanesca – or something that uses store cupboard ingredients which you can really easily create at home. Nothing too fancy. People worry about cooking for chefs but give me a bowl of pasta with some thyme, lemon and courgette, and I’m happy.”

My essential shopping basket would probably include good olive oil, parmesan, herbs, lemons, Cornish sea salt

Emily Scott Food Restaurant Interior Design

On working at Watergate Bay…

“There’s something incredible about Watergate Bay. It’s evocative and creative, and it’s become like my second home. There have been many highlights but, for me, just to be by the sea and work with my team – it doesn’t get better.”

On cooking for world leaders at the G7 summit…

“We opened the restaurant last May, my cookbook, Sea & Shore, came out in June, and then I cooked for the leaders of the Western world on 11 June! That was such a highlight. When I got that job, I wasn’t allowed to talk about it, so all my team knew the night before was that we were going to go and cook for a few special people...”

On inspiring the next generation…

“I’m incredibly lucky to feel so passionately about this wonderful restaurant – and to have the chance to inspire people to cook. Because it’s not all about me saying, ‘I can do this but you can’t.’ It’s about, ‘Gather three or four ingredients and you can do this.’ I especially love inspiring children to cook. That’s really important to me, because I think there’s such an opportunity for education there.”

On your evolving role…

“Gone are the days where the restaurant wouldn’t run if I didn’t have my apron on, in the kitchen, working all hours. I’m now lucky enough to have an amazing team of very talented chefs and front of house. And so, as my business has grown, my role has naturally evolved. I now curate every part of it, every detail, because that’s what’s important to me. And while I’m very involved, I’m not always here. But to have people I trust, to deliver what I believe in, and what I’m trying to create, has become such a joy to me.”

Emily Scott Portrait

We’ve just had an incredible Cornish saffron bun ice cream on the menu, which tastes like you’re eating a buttered saffron bun.

Emily Scott Chair

On being a woman restauranteur…

“While it is still a very male-dominated world, I feel lucky that I’ve been able to both grow my business and have a family. And I think more and more women are – you can do both and I want to inspire people to do both. I want to be acknowledged as someone who has worked hard, is good at what I do, good at bringing teams together and creating something special. So, I think these days, whether you’re a man or a woman, if you work hard, you can achieve your goals.”

On your love of the sea…

“I feel a deep connection to the sea and it’s such a central part of my everyday life. So being able to cook and eat fish and seafood from Cornish waters – it’s hard to beat.”

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