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Heligan’s Nat Tallents in prestigious cookery competition

March 2022: After appearing in the BBC’s Great British Menu last year, chef Nat Tallents was delighted to return to cook for the judges again this year, as part of an all-female South West chef line up.

The theme of this year’s competition is a celebration of 100 years of British broadcasting through classic British TV shows, and Tallents, Head of Hospitality and development chef at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, had the opportunity to cook a starter and fish course during the heat which first aired on Tuesday 15 March.

Tallents cooked alongside two chefs returning to the programme, Elly Wentworth, from The Angel in Dartmouth, and Olivia Barry, chef owner of Bristol’s Adelina Yard. They were joined by newcomer Charlotte Vincent from The Five Bells in Clyst Hydon in Devon.

Originally from Oldham, Tallents proudly calls the South West home, and settled in the region over eight years ago. Previously executive chef for The Box Kitchen & Bar in Plymouth, and The Lewinnick Lodge near Newquay, she joined the Heligan team as Head of Hospitality and development chef in summer 2021, shortly after last year’s GBM was broadcast.

Tallents said, “Even though it wasn’t my finest cooking hour, it was brilliant to have the opportunity to return to the competition. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, and am so grateful to be part of a historic week, with four women chefs cooking in one heat! The crew are incredible, the other chefs taking part were supportive and engaging, and there was just an awesome energy in the kitchen.”

As semi-finalist in National Chef of the Year in 2019 and 2021, Tallents describes her food as ingredient-led and visually exciting. Her menu for this year’s competition gives a nod to Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective – Hercule Poirot, and pays homage to children’s TV show Blue Peter, with a chicken and Cornish cheese waffle, and Cornish hake dish respectively.

Tallents continued, “To cook for Paul Ainsworth this year was amazing – he’s a local hero of mine. Whilst I was truly devastated not to get further in last year’s competition, I’m embracing the journey more this time around. These experiences give us so much opportunity to develop and grow and that’s what it’s all about!”

Since joining Heligan in her role as Head of Hospitality, Tallents is focused on developing Heligan’s food offering as it celebrates 30 years of being open to the public. She is keen to ensure the ingredients grown and reared on the Estate, just yards from the kitchen, are highlighted on her daily menus, and showcased in the tasting menus she creates for Heligan’s Lost Supper series.


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Notes to editors

Address: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St Austell, Cornwall PL26 6EN
The Lost Gardens were discovered from the brambles of time by Tim Smit and John Willis.
Over 200 acres are now a paradise for the explorer, wildlife, plant lover and garden romantic.
Heligan is a garden for all seasons, so whenever you plan to visit, you are guaranteed a unique experience.
The Heligan Kitchen is open daily from 12 noon to 3.30pm with dishes created to reflect the seasons.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan is a member of The Great Gardens of Cornwall, a group of the finest Cornwall gardens. Open 364 days a year, pre-booking is essential at this time.