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What Sam did next

Our Rising Star from last year, Sam Lomas, updates us on what he's been up to since he graduated from the River Cottage Chefs' School.

It’s a good few months now since I finished working in the kitchen at River Cottage. I still miss the walk down the hill to the kitchen to be greeted with a pig hanging up, waiting to be butchered, or a vast tub of bread dough about to be shaped into loaves.

Since I have left the kitchen I have been trying to refine my baking skills at the amazing Flour Water Salt bakery, before entering what could be reasonably described as a ‘sabbatical’ away from food and into politics for a few months.

But my struggle with sitting at a desk have made me realise that whether I like it or not, I need to get back to the stoves sooner or later!

Which is why I’m pretty excited to be donning my whites once again in the next few months, not at River Cottage HQ, but on a wee island in the inner Hebrides.

After being invited by Head Chef Gelf Alderson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I will be exploring the amazing food being grown reared or foraged on the Isle of Tiree.

My first stop will be to cook for guests who will be up on the island for an amazing surfing and yoga holiday called Surf Tiree.

Using the food from the island, the insanely good shellfish and the vegetables grow by the passionate crofters, I will be cooking food that, in the vein of the River Cottage Light and Easy book, is great for your body as well as your taste buds. That’s if all goes to plan!

It’s just another moment in my connection with River Cottage where I feel disproportionately lucky! I’ve mentally tuned out memories of things like cleaning ovens, sorting fridges or dicing kilo upon kilo of onions.

I just remember the sunny farm, scratching a pig or two and slicing a chunk off a bit of homemade salami at the end of a long day. Now cooking food on a beautiful Scottish island over the summer is just seems to be taking it too far!

Alongside Surf Tiree I will be manning the kitchen in a little café on the island called Beachcomber, where I’m going to try and cook the best lunches on the island with the best possible produce.

It would be amazing if any of you out there, who love a bit of tasty food that has been sourced responsibly, could pop in to say hello when I’m there over the summer. We are offering a free massage for any River Cottage fans who book a stay - just quote 'River Cottage' when booking.

Thanks for reading, Sam @samjlomas