Paul Ainsworth on turning The Mariners into a "proper public house"

The  Staff Canteen

We found out earlier this week that Paul and Emma Ainsworth are taking over The Mariners Pub in Rock, across the Camel estuary from the fishing port of Padstow, following Nathan Outlaw's departure last month. 

The couple, who also run No6 and Rojano's in The Square in Padstow, have taken out a long lease with Sharp's Brewery. 

In an interview with The Staff Canteen, Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth said that buying The Mariners, which he's always loved, fits with his and his wife's vision for the future. 

"What we're trying to create is our own castle, our own Fortress Padstow," keeping everything close together to ensure the quality stays at its highest. 

"If I've got to go away to do a bit of filming, the minute I'm back, I'm right back with my businesses. That's hugely important to me." 

The chef doesn't want to define the Ainsworth brand in the classic sense. "We don't have a logo", he said, but "if you know that it's ours, you know that we just we do our best, and that stands for quality. That's our brand."  

Starting with an investment of up to £150,000, the chef wants to bring The Mariners back to its heyday in the 1990s, hosting pub quizzes, bingo nights and old fashioned meets.

He hopes to make it affordable for locals - who he says have been outpriced by a lot of the restaurants in Rocks - driving down the price point through sheer volume. "We're going to make it a proper public house," he said. 

The menu will draw on the same ethos as at No6 and Rojano's, using the same suppliers, but for comfort food. Think fish and chips, scotch eggs, bangers and mash and potted shrimps. 

"I just want to be able to go out in Cornwall - and I can never find it - for a great crab sandwich, a brilliant ploughmans with a really good quality piece of cheese an amazing piece of ham lovely chutneys, pickled onions."

Meanwhile, as well as running his two other restaurants and launching a cookery school and chef’s table called Mahé, Paul is still training for this year's London Marathon. He will be raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK in his late father's honour. 

"I'm hugely excited, nervous and a bit anxious about the day, but someone said to me the other day: 'when you have a why, the how becomes a lot easier' and that is what will take me through." 

By Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th February 2019

Paul Ainsworth on turning The Mariners into a "proper public house"