Elly Wentworth at The Angel of Dartmouth : Cookbook Reviewed by Antonia Lloyd

Elly Wentworth is one of the country’s finest young chefs and her debut cookbook is a beautiful, impeccably presented collection of fine dining recipes demonstrating her immense skill, flair, and passion for the finest Devonian ingredients served up at The Angel of Dartmouth. Our Ambassador of Women In the Food Industry and Writer, Antonia Lloyd, reviews Elly Wentworth at The Angel of Dartmouth which launches on 30th May 2024 .

Elly Wentworth in her cookbook

All photography in Elly’s book is by Josh Campbell & used with the permission of Ebury Press

This debut celebrates the iconic riverside restaurant lying on the west bank of the River Dart and brings together exquisite recipes from the menu for us to pour over. Executive Chef Elly relates the 50-year history of this iconic establishment and its famous chefs in the opening pages – she pays tribute to the trailblazing Joyce Molyneux, the second UK based woman to receive a Michelin star in 1978, who built up its national reputation for excellent food enjoyed by the many celebrities and top London chefs who journeyed down.

Joyce Molyneaux

Elly makes a feature out of Joyce’s historic dishes: ‘Dartmouth Pie’ is updated by Elly in all its glory for us to recreate – lamb slow cooked in spices, orange zest, with prunes, apricots, and garlic before being cooled and assembled in a beautiful shortcrust pastry. There is one of Joyce’s favourite picante sauces that Elly pairs with lamb loin and artichokes, and for dessert as a nod to Joyce’s popular Grand Marnier soufflé, Elly features a light apple soufflé with a walnut and maple ice-cream. As Tom Aikens says, ‘Elly produces some pretty impeccable cooking.’

Dartmouth Pie by Elly Wentworth

Photography by Jodi HindsElly Wentworth and Michelin Star

In 2018 Elly was appointed Head Chef of The Angel of Dartmouth bringing with her a distinctive modern British culinary style. The goal was to recapture the restaurant’s status and reputation enjoyed during Joyce’s era with another formidable woman at the helm. The awards speak for themselves – the restaurant is once more listed in the Michelin Guide, The Good Food Guide and has two AA rosettes. She follows in Joyce’s footsteps working in an open kitchen and championing fresh, seasonal, sustainable produce with a commitment to local suppliers.

Scallop and Cucumber by Elly Wentworth at The Angel, Dartmouth

Her free diver scallop dish with cucumber beurre blanc on their signature tasting menu is the definition of sea-fresh: ‘Jamie dives to catch every scallop with a single breath… when we get them delivered, they have only been out of the water for a maximum of 10 minutes’. Whilst at home, we may have to suffice with a lesser sourced scallop, the technique for perfect cookery is revealed: pat dry the scallops, heat the pan up slowly so as not to burn the scallop, add the oil, season with salt, and cook until you see a good caramelisation on each scallop with a slightly translucent centre. ‘As a rule, two minutes on one side and anything from ten seconds to a minute on the other.’

Other beautifully simple recipes include her ‘Tomato and Peach Gazpacho’, ‘Cured Salmon with a Watermelon Salsa’ and ‘Sea Bream with a Gooseberry Puree’. These are light, explosive in flavour, with minimum intervention –seasonal dishes that would light up any occasion.

Elly Wentworth - Chocolate Bar

The collection of recipes follows the four seasons and entices with every page. Spring and summer dishes for us to enjoy now range from delights such as ‘White Asparagus Tortellini’, ‘Red Mullet with a Langoustine Bisque’ to ‘Crab tartlet’ and ‘Ruby Red Beef Fillet with Caramelised Onions’. For dessert, there’s ‘Chocolate Bar’ with poached cherries, ‘Malt Mousse with Blackout Coffee Sponge’ and ‘Apricot Sorbet with a Toasted Honey Cremeux’.  As Michelin starred Paul Ainsworth says: “Elly has the unique ability to combine recognisable and beautiful ingredients and turn them into showstoppers.”

Elly Wentworth and Angela Hartnett - Great British Menu 2022

Having worked closely with Elly as Series Editor of Great British Menu where she represented the southwest of England, there are also classic recipes in this collection that will be familiar to BBC viewers. On Great British Menu where she was fondly known as “Elly from the telly” with her bubbly personality and cheeky sense of humour, she impressed the judges with her stunning sauces, exceptional fish cookery (receiving a maximum ten points for her scallop dish with a tomato fondue by veteran judge Tom Aikens) and her poised desserts (her ‘Black Penny’ elicited top marks from Richard Corrigan). Many of Elly’s competition dishes are broken down into their component parts so we can attempt these beautiful creations.

Tom Aikens Quote for Elly Wentworth Cookbook

I for one will be trying to recreate the tomato fondue for any fish accompaniment and her chocolate marquise and sesame tuile from her ‘Black Penny’ for a stunning dessert option. Her lamb loin with apricots, lemon thyme crumble and smoked almond and sweetheart cabbage salsa is also not to be missed. From her time reaching the Finals of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016, she shares her ‘Raspberry Cannelloni’ that she made while working with Hywel Jones at 1 Michelin starred Lucknam Park– a pâte de brick tube filled with raspberry mousse, served with a tarragon ice-cream, and roasted macadamia nuts. These are very inviting dishes from a chef at the top of her game and will inspire any skilful cook looking to broaden their repertoire.

Elly Wentworth at The Angel of Dartmouth cookbook in restaurant

This cookbook is, quite frankly, a work of art with beautifully laid out recipes, organised step-by-step instructions, and stunning photography by Josh Campbell.  These inspiring fine-dining dishes invite you to attempt Elly’s artistry and cherry pick elements that will undoubtedly zhuzh up any celebratory cooking at home; it will also make you yearn to visit The Angel of Dartmouth for this is a long overdue celebration of this iconic British restaurant.

Elly Wentworth at The Angel of Dartmouth by Elly Wentworth is published by Ebury Books

You may also like to read Antonia’s review of Cooking with Anna by Anna HaughEasy Wins by Anna Jones, and her review of Plant Feasts by Frankie Paz, our review of Recipes for a Better Menopause by Jane Baxter & Dr Federica Amati and our book review of Modern South Asian Kitchen by Sabrina Gidda

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