Written by Tom Velterop |
It all started with the Hairy Bikers.
“Before I came to uni I was sat on my sofa with my parents watching the Hairy Biker’s: Mums Know Best cookbook show… and I thought that was such a lovely idea for an event,” said Phoebe Coppell, the instigator for the Big Falmouth Food Book.
Inspired by the Bikers she got her team together – Esther Wilson, Molly Atkinson and Hannah Baker, all third year Event Management students – to put together a cookbook with recipes from students and Falmouth locals alike.
“We think at the moment there is quite a divide between the students and the resident’s community,” added Phoebe, “so by giving them something they can celebrate together, it’s a really good way to bring them together.”
On Wednesday 3rd April, I arrived at Dolly’s Tea Room, Wine House and Gin Palace (the event’s gracious hosts) just as the doors opened to the public and was the first one through the door. I was greeted by smiles and live music, and already the event felt like a rambunctious success. The energy was just right. Even better, the food samples circling the room were free and delicious.
“Proper good pasty,” commented Jake Rowbottom, one of the volunteer event staff, while munching on a mini pasty straight out of the Food Book.
“It’s been a really good team to work with”
The four girls have been working on the project since February, and it’s clearly about so much more than food. Each of the four have added their own favourite recipe to the book, but every recipe in there comes with a story: banana bread made whenever someone was stressed, crumble with apples and blackcurrants picked on family walks as a child, mum’s shepherd’s pie as the one dish to survive university with – each recipe, each story, is special, and is what brings people together.
“It’s been a really good team to work with,” said Esther Wilson, a student and a Falmouth local. “I think it’s just a real way of life down here,” she added, “and it’s so nice to celebrate that.”
The Food Book was being launched alongside the relaunch of Community – the eighth edition of Voices, a student magazine from Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) dedicated to “providing a platform for people whose voices might previously have been lost in the noise.” I wandered over to their display table, savouring my Thai green curry, and saw Grenville Chappel, the Mayor of Falmouth, chatting to Allie Guy – Editor of Voices and the new Community and Welfare FXU President. The Mayor was wearing a sharp black suit, looking light without the golden chain of office, and seemed at home in the crowds of students.
The Mayor was ad-libbing, and he was wonderful. He sounded totally genuine and relatable
“What’s special about Falmouth?” he asked when giving a short speech. “Falmouth has always been a great place I think – and then the university came along. And it’s changed Falmouth. The first change you’ll notice is the week after the school holidays stop, there’s still people in the street. Because you could have fired a shotgun in those streets before and not hit a single soul. Now, it’s a vibrant and lively place to come.”
The Mayor was ad-libbing, and he was wonderful. He sounded totally genuine and relatable.
“This impression that everything that goes wrong in Falmouth is students really gets up my nose,” he added, “so for three years I have worked very hard with these wonderful people from FXU to try and change that impression.”
The Mayor featured in the Communities edition as one of the prominent local figures they interviewed.
“We wanted to create a bridge between the students and the community,” said Allie.
Listening to the Mayor spinning his speech to laughter and applause, I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to bridging that gap than Grenville Chappel.