Festival Chefs


James Strawbridge

James   James at Powderham    James on beach

Cornish Development Chef James Strawbridge has worked in food and drink around the South West for over a decade. James started his career as a TV presenter, Chef and Sustainable Living Expert. He has an extensive broadcast portfolio presenting lifestyle, travel and cookery shows for the BBC and ITV such as ‘The Hungry Sailors’ and ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’.  As a successful author he has written several internationally published cookbooks on a wide range of artisan skills and sustainable living including titles such as; Breads, Practical Self Sufficiency, Cheese & Dairy, Vegetables and Preserves. He is currently writing his eighth book on Smoking & Curing. Well established in media and publishing provides James with a unique insight and marketing expertise that he applies to his work with commercial partners and marketing teams in business.

James is passionate about marketing, collaborations, and art directing. He has successfully created concepts, spear-headed campaigns and generated innovative content and NPD for customers around the UK, working directly with Levi Roots on new products for the COOP, developing Award-winning products in Waitrose, creating colourful sub-brands for both consumer events and retail with customers like Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Delta Airlines.


Ashley Wright

Currently Head Chef at The Horn of Plenty in Tavistock, Ashley Wright has worked his way up through the kitchen. He began as a kitchen porter at the age of 16. His talent and determination led him to progress into the restaurant where he spent 3 years working in very fine establishments all over the country. It was in these roles that he honed his service skills and increased his knowledge and passion for food.

Ashley was given his first opportunity at a little family run restaurant in Ilkley – Yorkshire and went on to work in prestigious hotels such as Hotel Endsleigh and Lewtrenchard Manor. It was here that Ashley was inspired by top chefs such as Shay Cooper and Jason Hornbuckle.  Ashley enjoys a Modern European style of cooking with a strong focus on using locally sourced and seasonal produce. By allowing his ideas and creativity to grow, he has earnt himself 2 rosettes. Ashley has also achieved a 4 in the Good Food Guide.


Phil and Christine Jensen

Extreme Cake Makers Hippo Cake   Cake by Extreme Cake Makers

Paul and Christine are master cake bakers, and together they run their luxury cake business, Peboryon. Their cake studio is situated in the historic and beautiful town of Penzance in Cornwall, only a short stroll from the ocean edge. It’s a place of light, beauty and inspiration. From there they create gourmet luxury wedding and celebration cakes and deliver them to beautiful venues across the UK. Paul and Christine have made regular appearances on Channel Four’s ‘Extreme Cake Bakers’, showcasing their most impressive masterpieces.


Colin Bennett

As Pastry Chef Manager at Ashburton Cookery School, Colin Bennett started baking from a very young age, following in the footsteps of his grandmother who he thanks for providing him with a strong grounding in the basics. From there, he landed his first job as a commis pastry chef at the Park Lane Hilton in London and went on to work in a number of leading hotels including: The Grovesnor and Dorchester. His talent led him to work alongside many of today’s celebrity chefs including Simon Hopkinson, Nuno Mendez, Tom Aitkin and Jamie Oliver. Colin worked in Michelin starred restaurants such as Pied a Terre, The Orrery and Viajante, however, maintains that the highlight of his career was his 4 and a half years at Hilton’s specialist patisserie, created as part of a £30m refit.

Colin strives to build his recipes on great classical foundations from which he can incorporate modern techniques. He hopes to pass on the fundamentals of baking through his teaching so that others don’t underestimate the value of an enthusiastic home cook. “A little education can make cooking a lot more fun”.


Darrin Hosegrove

As Chef Director at Ashburton Cookery School, Darrin began his career at Gidleigh Park Hotel working under the guidance of Michelin starred chef Shaun Hill. He has worked in many acclaimed fine dining restaurants in the UK and also held positions as a College Lecturer and Development Chef, before joining the Ashburton Cookery School in 2004. As well as regularly teaching at the school, Darrin oversees the development of new courses, recipes and menus. Darrin has helped to create a cookery school with a strong ethos supporting South West producers and artisan suppliers. He has also been instrumental in the development of the annual Ashburton Food & Drink Festival, which takes place in September.

The award-winning cookery school has been running for 20 years offering courses to amateur cooks of all abilities. Darrin was responsible for launching the Ashburton Chefs Academy which has now become a professional accredited training centre teaching culinary diploma’s in cuisine and patisserie to an advanced level.


Katie Venner

Katie co-owns Teignbridge Sourdough and Fermenteria and has even advised Tom in the Archers on his fermenting technique! You can find Katie teaching fermenting and patisserie classes or selling her ferments and talking about fermentation at Frome Independent Sunday market, as Wild and Fermented. As well as introducing us to the joys of Sauerkraut, she will be telling us about her attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest fermented cabbage dish in the world!