Jane Devonshire’s Faves
From The Cabinet Rooms to her mum's kitchen table, Hampshire's very own Masterchef winner gives us her hotspots.
I have so many favourite places — I love proper food markets, my dad was a market trader so I have a real affinity with them. If we’re on holiday, my children are dragged around fish stalls, and any other weird and wonderful markets that we come across. I really do spend hours there.
Billingsgate Fish Market
Recently I was at Billingsgate. I’m doing some work with Seafish, trying to get children to eat 2 portions of fish a week and it was just wonderful. I was really in my element. Going round talking to all the market traders and seeing all the fish and everything.
I go to all the farmer’s markets, but I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for Borough Market in London. One of my favourite places to eat fish is the Oyster & Porterhouse restaurant on the edge of the market run by the seafood merchant, Wright Brothers.
The National Portrait Gallery
My daughter and I go quite a lot, when we’re in London. The Tate Modern is lovely, but there’s something so special about this gallery. I quite often have a wander around especially if I’m a bit early for a meeting or have two meetings in London and I can just nip in.
Chawton Woods, Hampshire
I’m always walking, that’s my thing. I’ve got 2 big dogs and I walk them for at least an hour everyday come rain or shine.
I walk through these woods where Jane Austen lived. I love them, especially when the bluebells are out; it’s such a special place to be. But I walk all over. We go down to the coast and I think one of my favourite places to be of all is Dorset.
West Bay, Dorset
My aunty had The George Hotel in West Bay when I was growing up so we used to spend our summers down there and I still go down to Dorset every year. We take the children and we always surf.
The George Hotel, West Bay
It’s still there, obviously my aunt’s not but, yes, it’s still there. If anyone goes to West Bay they know The George, it’s right on the harbour.
This is a real favourite for all the family, even the ones who aren’t so keen on eating fish will eat it here and the great thing is that on Hive beach you can walk the dog on the cliffs and on the beach. It really is a very special place for me. This is where I get my love of fish, spending all my summers down there, fishing and being in the kitchen with my aunty in the hotel.
My Mum’s Kitchen Table
My very favourite place has got to be my mum’s kitchen, or my kitchen at Christmas when you’ve got your whole family there. You’re just having a roast dinner, relaxing and chatting over the cheese board for hours with a few glasses of wine.
Before I was ill (Jane had breast cancer and then secondary liver cancer), I always thought that if I was diagnosed with a serious disease, I would jump on a plane and travel the world to see all these exotic and wonderful places but when it did happen, I wanted to be at home with my mum, my comfort food and my children.
Mum has always cooked and she’s really good at it. She’s a very traditional cook as when she grew up they didn’t have access to the ingredients that we have now. Saying that, as my dad was a market trader, he would bring home all these weird and wonderful produce; trays of pomegranate or a great big brill or flat fish and my Mum, bless her, would create an amazing dish.
We only had two cook-books growing up, Marguerite Patten and Good Housekeeping, with no access to the Internet or anything so as much as she says she’s not a very adventurous cook, my mum is a clever cook because she always managed and was never phased by any ingredients.
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer ten-years-ago. Then five-years-ago, just before my half-decade all clear, they found a secondary cancer on my liver. It was really lucky that the best surgeon in the world for liver resection, Mr Myrddin Rees, happens to live here. The liver is the only organ in the body that regenerates itself, so they removed over half my liver. If you Google liver cancer, the prognosis is far from good, yet he did that operation on me and I’m five-years in remission. He’s a fantastic and very inspirational man; he has this vision for a cancer centre which is all inclusive and it will become a reality.
It’s basically where you can go and have your chemo but also access counselling, massage and all those other things that are so important to boost your wellbeing when you are in treatment. It’s going to be a family centre as well because cancer doesn’t just effect the person being treated. It will be such an important resource for people in the South East. At the moment Ark Cancer is a small charity and it needs to raise £3million to get the fork in the ground.
To find out more or donate click here.
Garthowen Garden Centre, Tree House Coffee Shop: Four Marks, Alton, Hants
I love it here, it’s local to me (Ed note: this is where we did our interview). I think it’s lovely, really vibrant. They do a great breakfast and it’s all home cooked. In fact, everything is home cooked and you get all ages in here, lots of young children and outside they have the most beautiful space so the kids can run around.
I love a lot of local places, we’re rather fond of The Yew Tree and in Winchester I like the Wykeham Arms, they’re always so friendly in there.
Gorilla Spirits Gin Distillery, Four Marks
I absolutely love their gin and they’re only in Four Marks so within walking distance to me, very dangerous. Just beautiful, beautiful gin. We’ve got so many exceptional gins in Hampshire at the moment.
The Cabinet Rooms, Winchester
We’ve got a cocktail tasting evening soon from the people at The Cabinet Rooms in Winchester. They’re going to come round to our house and teach us the art of mixology. We’ve organised it for a friend’s fifiteth birthday. They also have a café/bar in Winchester. There are so many quirky little things to do around in Hampshire!
Words: Mary Malyon