meet the chef

MEET THE COMMUNITY CHEF & BAKER: FRAN PARODY-CANDEA

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Everything Francis Parody-Candea does is driven by a passion for local produce, education, investing in people and the Bude for Food initiative. Hailing from Spanish shores, Fran moved to the UK when he was five years old and following a career cooking in restaurants and hotels across Europe, this classical chef turned community chef/baker finally came to rest in the Bude area 6 years ago.

Along with his partner Ali, Fran (or Paco!) opened up the Popti Cornish Bakehouse which recently won the Great Western Producer Award for their authentic Cornish Nibbles and Savoury Biscuits. And when he’s not baking, Fran runs a series of pop-up restaurants around Cornwall and is also one of the faces behind the Bude For Food Festival – one of the great autumn food festivals that has had remarkable success, drawing in 7000 food lovers from across the UK.

We caught up with Fran to chat about Popti, his food philosophy, why he loves cooking with Cornish ingredients and how his love for Spanish flavours influences his cooking style…

ABOUT BEING A CHEF

When did you first start your career in the kitchen?

As the son of a hotelier and restauranteur, I used to spend weekends and school holidays helping out from about the age of nine!

Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?

No! I hated it to begin with – it was what was expected of me… so I rebelled in my twenties and went off to learn to build houses!

What inspired you to change from classical chef to baker?

Having a young family is not the best mix with chef’s hours; becoming a baker allowed me to have more quality time with my sons, Gabriel and Noah.

Can you tell us a bit about the Bude For Food Festival…

I am lucky to live in this part of North Cornwall; Bude has an amazing community of go-getting people who make things happen. The original idea for Bude for Food was born at Norton Barton – we wanted to do something to draw national and international attention to Bude. We knew that food tourism is an ever growing sector and the visitors to Cornwall who come out of the normal “holiday” season are attracted to areas that are known for interesting and evolving food scenes… the festival is delivered by a not-for-profit organisation.

What do you love about what you do?

Making people smile and knowing we are laying the foundations for a sustainable business for the future.

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ABOUT POPTI CORNISH BAKEHOUSE

Tell us about Popti Cornish Bakehouse  – location, who works there and what you do?

POPTI is based at Norton Barton Artisan Food Village. There is a core team of staff who work well together and our main focus is our core range of savoury biscuits.

What is the story behind your delicious, award winning Cornish Nibbles and Savoury Biscuits – how are they made, ingredients…

There was a real gap in the market for a Cornish savoury biscuit to accompany all the fabulous cheeses and charcuterie produced here – our recipe is super simple, with quality ingredients, no chemicals, additives or preservatives.

Describe some of the ways people can buy your Cornish Nibbles and Savoury Biscuits.

They are available in farm shops, delis and independent food stores across the UK. They can also be found online via Cornish Charcuterie.

What’s next for Popti?

We are working hard on new products and developing seasonal flavours.

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ABOUT YOUR FOOD Can you tell us a bit about your food philosophy? Honesty, provenance and seasonal produce – keep it simple! Why do you love cooking with Cornish ingredients?

We are really lucky here- surrounded by countryside and the sea; we have the pick of nature’s larder! Plus we now know the farmers, growers and fishermen personally so it’s a pleasure to plan the menu and call friends for the food!

Can you tell us how your love for Spanish flavours influences your cooking style?

Despite my Scouse accent, I am Spanish through and through. The flavours of Spain are in my DNA and I really respect the Spanish love of simplicity and using herbs, spices and simple seasonings to enhance rather than disguise flavours.

What are some of your favourite things you are eating in season at the moment?

It’s a great time of year for locally grown produce – the allotments are bursting with interesting fruit and veg, the fishermen are hauling in pots of lobster and the sardines are plentiful and cheaper than chips!

Do you have a “signature dish”? Pollo al ajillo – chicken with garlic and pistachios – a huge favourite! What is your favourite meal to cook at home? Ham, egg and proper chips! Simple and delicious! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT FRAN WebsiteFacebook Twitter

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