Jacques Marchal is best known in Plymouth for Chez Nous, the fine-dining restaurant in Frankfort Gate he ran with his wife Suzanne from 1980 to 2003. When they gained a Michelin star in 1987, they were one of only 33 restaurants in the whole of the UK with that prestigious award.
He says there is no secret to his cooking, and and there have never been signature dishes. Jacques goes back to the influences of the kitchen in the family home. "It is about ingredients," he says. "The best quality, as fresh and local as possible. We are lucky here (in the South West) because we have superb fish of course, and fantastic beef and game and the wonderful clotted cream."
After leaving Chez Nous, Jacques was quickly in demand. He was approached by the City Centre Company to help organise a large-scale farmers' market, and Flavour Fest was born. Jacques continues to be involved as the event expanded - Flavour Fest is now one of the biggest and most successful food fairs in the South West.
Jacques now concentrates on his outside catering business, acts as consultant for several food-related businesses, and champions awareness of good nutrition in schools. He also spends time tending his allotment plot in Mannamead. "Everything there is organic, something I believe in passionately." he says "There is nothing, nothing at all, that compares with growing the best produce yourself and then, at the end of the day, picking, say, some lettuce to eat at home. It does not get better than that."
See Jacques at the Flavour Fest 2016 Kitchen Theatre at 10.00am on Sunday 05 June, with Mal Harradine