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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food. He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as campaigns such as Hugh’s Fish Fight.


Gelf Alderson, Head Chef

Gelf was one of the early pioneers of farm to fork philosophy, from his time as Head Chef at the 6500 acre farm at Killerton House. Gelf has been Head Chef at River Cottage for four years now and is responsible for creating the inspiring food we offer at River Cottage HQ, using food that is farmed locally, sourced from our kitchen garden, or foraged from the surrounding area.

Gill Meller, Group Head Chef

Gill Meller has been part of the River Cottage team for more than ten years. Working closely with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gill has been a major part of all of the activities at River Cottage including sourcing the ethically-produced and sustainable food, creating the ever changing menus and developing the successful cookery school at Park farm. He appears regularly on the series cooking alongside Hugh, contributes to the cookbooks and teaches at the River Cottage Cookery School.

Andy Tyrrell, Senior Sous Chef

After graduating Andy began running a successful gastro-pub based around seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Following the call of the countryside he ran a kitchen on the Pembrokeshire coast, cooking beautiful abundant seafood and forging a network of local suppliers. He joined River Cottage in 2012 and has been teaching how to bake, butcher, fillet, preserve and simmer ever since.

Ben Bulger, Food Development Manager

Ben works with the River Cottage Canteen team and Hugh to develop exciting new menus following our ethos of using seasonal, local, organic and wild ingredients. Ben previously worked as head chef at Exeter’s Magdalen Chapter and alongside Jane Baxter at the Riverford Field Kitchen. Ben is a champion of fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, using the freshest organic produce. His style is simple, well-executed cooking.

Sam Lomas, Chef

Sam first started at River Cottage in 2013 after winning an apprenticeship to working at HQ. After brief dalliances away in London and the Hebrides, Sam returned to River Cottage as a full time chef.

Nowadays Sam is busy at River Cottage enthusiastically teaching our Bread baking courses and cooking for our dining events.

Connor Reed, Sous Chef

Connor started his career working in restaurants in his home county of Hertfordshire. He made the move to Devon to take up a position in our Axminster Canteen where he developed his enthusiasm for locally sourced quality ingredients.

Connor made the move to RC HQ where he has worked his way up to Sous Chef and is now one of our regular course tutors.

His love of food has helped him develop a passion for butchery and charcuterie and a love for wild foraged food.

River Cottage team

Will Livingstone, Head Gardener

After graduating from agricultural college, Will joined River Cottage in 2008 as a member of the land team. He worked his way up and was made Head Gardener of River Cottage HQ in spring 2014. He thrives working outdoors every day and is a strong believer in the benefits of organic growing - environmentally, health-wise and in the overall quality of the produce.

Dan Powell, Farm Manager

Dan has been farming since 1982. For more than 10 years he worked as an adviser helping farmers move their farms over to organic farming methods and training them in organic farming methods. He now works for River Cottage developing and managing the farm at HQ to produce high quality pork, poultry, beef and lamb for the kitchens and courses here. He also runs the Smallholding Course.

Roly Boughton, Assistant Farm Manager

Roly is a member of the Land Team, helping to organically manage the farm, its livestock and the wider site. He's a true countryman and has a wealth of knowledge regarding the countryside and its flora and fauna. He has written and been filmed covering a range of countryside subjects from herbal medicines for animals to catching rabbits with ferrets for the table. Roly & his family lived in the 'original' River Cottage for several years.

Roly will be running several NEW courses during 2017

Key contacts

Lucy Pugsley

Bespoke Events Manager

Sushila Moles

Bespoke Events

Tamsyn Bate

Sales & Events Administrator

Maxine Hamberg

Qualifications Manager

Megan Mordue

Weddings Coordinator

Course tutors

David Chambers, Beekeeping

David has been keeping bees for more than twenty years. A member of the East Devon Beekeepers Association, he runs three apiaries totalling approximately twenty hives. Originally keeping bees out of fascination for the gentle and hard working insect, David says: "Working with bees is entertaining, mesmerising and hugely relaxing. It’s the best way I know to get rid of the stress!"

Paul Thomas, Cheese

Paul is a dairy technologist and all round fromage fanatic. After graduating with a degree in biochemistry in 1999, Paul spent several years working as the affineur at respected cheesemonger, IJ Mellis in Edinburgh. He spent six years as head cheesemaker at Lyburn Farm before setting up Thimble Cheesemakers - producing raw milk soft cheeses. He now provides technical support to cheesemakers around the world.

Steven Lamb, Curing & Smoking expert

Steven Lamb teaches on several courses in the Cookery School but specialises in Curing & Smoking. Involved with River Cottage since the beginning, he appears regularly on the TV series and online. He has recently written the River Cottage Handbook on Curing & Smoking. He works closely with Gill Meller and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall representing River Cottage both in the UK and abroad.

John Wright, Foraging

Author of the River Cottage Handbooks Mushrooms, Edible Seashore, Hedgerow and Booze, John is a familiar face from the River Cottage series. He gives lectures on natural history and every year he takes around fifty 'forays', many at River Cottage HQ, showing people how to collect food - plants from the hedgerow, seaweeds and shellfish from the shore and mushrooms from pasture and wood. Fungi are his greatest passion and he has thirty-five years' experience in studying them.

Naomi Devlin, Gluten Free

Naomi Devlin is a nutritionist and unashamed foodie, blessed with a coeliac diagnosis after having her son. Using whole-grains and sourdough cultures, she loves to get excited about the flavourful possibilities of free-from baking and will answer any question on health and diet you care to dream up! Naomi lives in Bridport with her husband, son, and ginger cat, in a sustainable house they built themselves. Naomi leads our Gluten Free, Advanced Gluten Free and Seasonal Nutrition courses.

Rachel de Thample, Preserves

A journalist by trade, Rachel spent time in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal and Peter Gordon before moving into food writing. She has written two books encouraging us to eat more veg: Less Meat, More Veg and FIVE. A lifelong supporter of home-grown, local, organic food, she became Head of Food for the pioneering organic box scheme Abel & Cole and has helped set up numerous local food initiatives, including the award-winning Crystal Palace Food Market.

Sean McSeveney, Shoreline Fishing

Fishing since he was two years old, Sean hasn't looked back since. Everything he does is based around fishing. He works as a fishing guide, commercial rod and line fisherman, and when not fishing - makes videos or writes about fishing! Sean has fished all over the world and worked as a fishing guide in Spain. He now lives in Dorset, where the shore fishing is arguably the best in the country.