Gelf Alderson, Executive 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 was Head Chef at River Cottage for four years before being promoted to Executive Head Chef. Today, he is responsible for creating the inspiring food we offer at River Cottage. Gelf is passionate about using food that is farmed locally, sourced from our kitchen garden, or foraged from the surrounding area.
Gill Meller, Chef & Writer
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 River Cottage HQ. He appears regularly on the series cooking alongside Hugh, contributes to the cookbooks and teaches at the River Cottage Cookery School.
Andy Tyrrell, Head 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.
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
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.
Beth Kempton, Wellness
Beth has spent the last decade helping people find ways to live well doing what they love. Her latest book ‘Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life’ was named a recommended read by TIME Magazine, described as ‘a truly transformational read’ by Sunday Times Style.