Exmoor chefs on track with Quantock Belle

Our John has joined forces with two other Exmoor chefs to host a pop-up dining experience on-board the West Somerset Railway Association’s (WSRA) Quantock Belle dining train this autumn (2018).

John will join Justin Reeves of Reeves Restaurant and Claire Lynch from Claire’s Kitchen to host ‘The Three Chefs Express’ pop-up on October 29, 2018.

John said: “Justin, Claire and I have joined forces to create a one-off fine dining experience for passengers on board the Quantock Belle. We have come up with a delicious six course menu using ingredients that have been locally sourced where possible.

“We each put forward suggestions for a course but due to the number of people we will be serving, we will all be helping with the cooking on the night.”

Justin’s starter includes steamed Minehead bay seabass, potato and sorrel salad, salmon caviar and kale crisps or a vegetarian option of a duo of roasted organic butternut squash and beetroot potage finished with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.

A Dunster elderberry and Wicked Wolf gin sorbet course will follow.

The main course, suggested by Claire, will be Vietnamese poached duck leg, pak choi and Szechuan soba noodles, pineapple and cucumber salad or a vegetarian version using sweet potato in a Vietnamese broth.

A cheese course of Stawley Goats Cheese and Isle of Wight Cheese will follow before John’s dessert course of a sticky ginger pudding with salted caramel, toffee apple and clotted cream.

Justin Reeves from the award-winning Reeves Restaurant, said: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with John and Claire who are two great local chefs and being able to cook on-board a steam train is very exciting. I am sure the event will be a tremendous experience for us and the diners.”

Justin has more than 30 years cooking experience, starting in the early 1980s as apprentice to Master Chef Andre Chavagnon at his Michelin starred La Sorbonne restaurant in Oxford.

He went on to become Head Chef at Painswick House Hotel and executive chef at Smiths Industries aerospace.

In 2005 Justin and his wife, also called Claire, opened Reeves Restaurant in Dunster. Its ethos is to produce food cooked with love paired with a friendly and relaxed service. The restaurant was recently awarded Somerset’s Best Restaurant for 2018 and Justin was named ‘Somerset Chef of the Year’ in 2015 and 2016.

Claire Lynch from Claire’s Kitchen, said: “I am very excited about the pop up event on the Quantock Belle. It looks set to be an evening of sheer indulgence and the menu incorporates seasonal and around the world flavours, making it a truly one-off dining experience not to be missed.”

Claire is a self-taught chef currently living in Wootton Courtenay. She creates around-the-world cuisine for private dining, weddings and parties as well as outdoor and indoor catering events.

The Quantock Belle operates on the West Somerset Railway between Bishops Lydeard near Taunton and Minehead, recreating the nostalgic atmosphere of the days of steam.

It includes a dining carriage where passengers can enjoy a meal as the train winds through the Quantock Hills, past the ancient port of Watchet and along the coast to Blue Anchor Bay.

The ‘Three Chefs Express’ pop-up dining experience will take place on the WSRA’s Quantock Belle dining train on Monday, October 29, 2018. To book tickets please click here.