Why Rye?

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In his kitchen

Our new series of interviews are designed for you to get to know the people who’ve chosen Rye as their home or place of work, a little more personally. 

Subject of interview: Martin Peacock. He has run the Landgate Bistro for 17 years.

Twitter or Instagram? 

Instagram. It’s a wrong assumption to think I’m a visual person. I read a lot actually, but Twitter just frustrates me and Instagram cheers me up.

Meat or fish? 

I don’t eat fish, but I love cooking fish. I’ll eat it as part of a tasting menu. To eat, meat. To cook, fish. You’ve got to avoid trying to cook for yourself all the time, which is the temptation. You’ve got to see what works for other people, so that’s definitely easy with fish.

Music or talk radio?

I’m set up for Radio 4 at the moment, I must confess.

Sand or shingle?

I find myself going to Winchelsea Beach all the time, not Camber, don’t know why. It’s probably because there are just fewer people.

Coffee or tea?

I don’t drink coffee, so always tea. Infusions of all varieties, except mint. No, actually mint tea in Morocco, but it doesn’t seem right in Rye, even though I have a kitchen garden and grow Moroccan mint.

Vacation or staycation? 

I don’t really have vacations, because as a chef you don’t. I like wild camping, so I’ve just done the Sussex Border Path, for example. Thorney Island is very special; that’s at the very end of the path, it’s the last bit of Sussex, just before you get to Portsmouth. And the odd weekend in Paris.

Dog or cat?

Dogs definitely. I don’t have one and didn’t grow up with them and my partner tells me I’m allergic to dogs, but I just like dogs.

Cinema or theatre? 

You’ve got to do both. You can’t avoid going to one: it’s got to be a mixture of the two. I go to the Kino about once a month, which is not really a lot and the theatre about every three months. I’m in London most weekends: I look after my grandkids

Sun or shade?

On a nice day I’d definitely be under a tree with a book. When I go to Winchelsea Beach, it’s for a swim.

Why Rye?

I was looking for a place outside London and my partner said, “Why not a restaurant, you like cooking?” We were travelling around England together and we actually ate here. We liked it because it was lovely, unpretentious and good value, exactly what I wanted to do myself, so we decided to go for it. The Landgate Bistro has been here for about forty-two years with only two chefs during all that time.

Another reason is that as you get older, I think there’s a tendency to drift back to where you’re born; I was born up near Tonbridge. I like the sense of the country and the woods around here, it feels like it fits and it goes with the wild camping. I was a university lecturer and loved all the old antiquarian book shops which were a real feature of Rye.

For the first eight years, I was actually still teaching in London and cooking here in the evening, and I was commuting. It seemed like a nice retirement job. Originally I just wanted to do an afternoon tea place. I love making cakes, I have a sweet tooth. But we thought if you bake all your own bread and cakes you’d have to get up at 4 in the morning. If you open a restaurant you could get up later! I still go to London a lot for my grandkids. It feels like a lovely balance.

Image Credits: Natasha Robinson .

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