Introducing our Head Chef – Matt Wadsworth

Our Head Chef, Matt Wadsworth, a passionate foodie and Award winning chef, Founder and Author of successful Instagram Account, Crumb and Coast is one of our incredibly dedicated & talented team members here at Ladram Bay Holiday Park.

His aim? To save the planet by changing the way we cook and shop – small steps lead to big changes!

“Anyone can cook!” by Matt Wadsworth                   

I strongly believe we can all make a difference to rising global issues by strategically planning our meals and structuring our weekly grocery shop. Small changes lead to bigger things.  Take 2021’s opening food trend phenomenon of ‘Veganuary’. Whilst I myself do not practice Veganism, it’s good to see people waking up to the reality of our stressed planet and considering the possibility that a plant based diet may have health benefits.

I guess many jumped on board more as a personal weight loss platform following Christmas indulgences, but it’s a start! Vegan, vegetarian, or just reducing meat intake is likely be beneficial to our health and indeed the environment. It takes less energy and land space to raise plants than it does animals. Those lovely beasts emit their fair share of harmful gases into the ozone too, whilst ironically enjoying their own vegan diet.

However, it is important to understand that here in the UK, January is probably the worst time of year to be seeking the right nutrients your body needs to replace meat and dairy products. Seasonally, British farmers are only harvesting limited crops. Sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale and the like. Anything else required to be truly vegan would have to be dried, tinned, or frozen and often imported. This creates another series of problems. Transportation emissions, packaging and preservation to name but a few, undermining the essence of the exercise. Healthy self yes, healthy planet, maybe not. 

How can we improve our ways? My objective is a less extreme (and completely accessible) approach. Putting more thought into what we eat and food preparation. Replacing say two or three meat based meals each week with a vegan or vegetarian option. Planning each meal with foresight.

As a Head Chef, part of my remit is reducing food wastage by utilising ingredients left over from one dish to create another. “If we care about the future of this amazing planet we need to stop throwing so much away. Get creative with your food waste! This will require a more tactical grocery shop. Plan your meals meticulously at the beginning of each week. Get into the habit of using that grey matter to cultivate recipes, how can you use up leftover ingredients today in tomorrow’s lunch or supper?

With a bit of imagination, you can drastically cut down your food bill, saving precious pennies, reducing food waste and cutting back packaging. Wasted food in the UK has about the same carbon footprint as all plastic waste. 

Prepare your own sauces and freeze them rather than buying ready made. You will know exactly what has gone in there. No packaging and far healthier. Plus, a simple sauce can be made out of literally anything, with some simple cooking applied and a half-decent blender!

Batch cook a simple tomato based sauce using fresh tomatoes, spinach, tomato purée, finely chopped onion, seasoning, garlic. Freezes perfectly and can be used as a quick and convenient base for pasta, dips, curries, chilli, baked egg brunches etc. 

List ingredients that you can buy locally. Concentrate on seasonal goods produced in U.K. ie. buy British. A big deal following Brexit! Support your nearby Farm Shops, Butchers, Fish Mongers etc – the closer to home the better. Local markets and High Street Green Grocers have incredible selections and desperately need your support in this difficult climate. You might even find it an enjoyable experience. For me, nothing beats pondering around my local farm shops such as Greendale or Darts Farm and exploring the vast ranges of fresh, unhampered and seasonal produce!

We have such amazing choices here in Devon. Eating is one of life’ s finest pleasures after all, we should all be interested in what we are actually eating in order to promote a sustainable healthy lifestyle. We need our big Supermarkets, let’s be realistic, we can’t all afford to shop like Ms. Paltrow nor do we have time to waste BUT do buy organic wherever you can. Lower the amount of meat you eat and spend what you save on buying organic. You know it’s better for you! Don’t purchase everything from the big guys for the sake of convenience – Organic farmers strive to meet standards constantly being developed to reduce their impact on the earth. They operate with an environmentally friendly ethos. This, in short, avoids the use of strong, eco-destructive pesticides, growth steroids and preservatives, both on animals and vegetables, and avoids indoor, sterile environments where animal wouldn’t even see the sunlight. Most of us are guilty of never giving any of this a second thought as we dally through the aisles of our local Tesco (other Supermarkets are also available!!)..

Aside from my passion for food, I have a deep love of the ocean and am a keen surfer. Being in the water gives me a heightened sense of responsibility for the environment. I see first hand the amount of plastic and other garbage washed up on our shores, much of it being food and drink related. Surfing makes me feel at one with nature, as lavishly cliche as I know that sounds. I desperately want to help preserve the natural beauty of our seas and indeed our planet. There is no Plan(et) B. after all!

Due to the seasonal and, in my case fortunate nature of my employment, I have spent the last 3 Winters travelling around some of my favourite parts of the world. Many of the dishes I create have been inspired by my travels, particularly around Asia, Indonesia and other parts of Europe. I have learned so much, not just about food but also food culture, and have been introduced to an array of economical cooking methods operated by the local folk of habitats far less affluent than our own, both in meat and vegetarian abiding societies. I always return home to Devon with fresh enthusiasm and enjoy injecting this into my menus both at work and home.

I created my instagram account, CrumbandCoast, to showcase some simple, yet tasty and healthy recipes that ANYONE can cook, and hopefully share some of that inspiration with you guys out there. Remember, small steps lead to big changes, it’s never not your turn to change history!

Try my Garden Pesto…

Pesto literally translates to ‘Paste’ and is a great way to take any dish to another level, whilst achieving great flavour and vibrancy. So why not get creative with your blender or Pestle and Mortar? This particular recipe is great with pasta, meats and even as a dressing!

Garden pesto

  • Spinach – 3 handfuls
  • Kale – 2 handfuls
  • Peas – 1 cup
  • Basil – 1 handful
  • Garlic – 1 large clove
  • Chilli – 1
  • Lemon juice and zest – 1
  • Toasted cashew or pine nuts – 2 tbsp
  • Parmesan – 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  • Honey – 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper – 1 good pinch

Blanch your Spinach and Kale in boiling water for 30 seconds, then take out and put straight to iced water. This will not only soften the vegetables, but also allows your pesto to hold it’s vibrant colour for longer. After, remove and squeeze out any excess water. Add everything to a blender and pulse. You can add a little more oil or a splash of water for help the blender and smoothen out your pesto. Enjoy!