A Padstow restaurant will create a season-long pop-up in collaboration with a nearby farm and local suppliers.
With Covid restrictions set to affect the hospitality industry for weeks to come, Katie and Rick Toogood of Prawn on the Lawn have teamed up with Trerethern Farm to find a creative way to run their restaurant.
The move, which has been dubbed Prawn on the Farm, has resulted in the creation of 10 jobs and more than 17,000 customers booked in already for the season.
Katie Toogood said: “The original Prawn on the Lawn restaurant in Padstow is a tiny space, and we can only seat a reduced capacity of 16 people with social distancing, meaning we would have had to let half of our team go to keep the business financially viable.”
“We started thinking about what we really need, and ultimately the result was space. We’ve got a great relationship with Ross Geach at Padstow Kitchen Garden, and approached him with the idea to have the restaurant at his family farm. There’s so much opportunity for local businesses to help each other out.”
The team has also been working closely with food and drink producers to develop a week-long training programme for the restaurant’s staff.
Locally-sourced ingredients are central to the ethos of the restaurant, which will continue to use Cornish fish, and produce grown on the farm, while inviting suppliers from around Cornwall to showcase their produce and educate the team in the week prior to opening.
A training session focused on charcuterie will be delivered by River Cottage’s expert smoker and curer, Steven Lamb, to help Prawn on the Farm and sister restaurant Barnaby’s make full use of the rare breed Cornish Black pigs that are reared on Trerethern Farm.
According to research commissioned by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, Prawn on the Lawn is not alone in making changes to their workplace, with 79% of businesses surveyed either planning to, or having already made changes, to comply with social distancing.
Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow will continue to function as a fresh fish counter, as well as a space to prepare the fish before it’s sent to the farm for use in the restaurant.
Katie continued: “I think Cornwall is in for a really busy summer and reservations will be booked up quickly. Keeping the fish counter running at Prawn on the Lawn means people can still enjoy gorgeous fresh fish—if not with us in the restaurant, then at home or on the BBQ.”
Rick and Katie have also been working alongside Padstow fisherman Johnny Murt and his partner Cam to set up a new business, Fish Buoys, which aims to make Cornish shellfish more accessible to restaurants and consumers.
Rick said: “Crab and lobster sales have been particularly impacted by the closure of restaurants, and home cooks are often quite intimidated when it comes to cooking them, so we wanted a way to support the industry and make fresh Cornish shellfish more accessible.
“The aim of Fish Buoys is to marry Johnny’s expertise in fishing and our knowledge on what restaurants and consumers want, to try and get as many people eating UK fish and shellfish as possible.”
The venture has been supported by a grant which aims to help get fish from the boats onto people’s plates.
Guidance in finding appropriate support in areas such as funding, strategy, sales and marketing is offered by the Growth Hub, which has been helping Cornish businesses continue to develop throughout the pandemic.
Prawn on the Farm will be open from 21 April until 3 October, with bookings available from the website: prawnonthelawn.com/restaurant/padstow. More information on the Growth Hub can be found on their website: ciosgrowthhub.com.
Photo credit: Sean Gee & Jim Michell