Have you ever wondered where these luxury yacht chefs come from? I mean did they grow up saying “when I grow up, I want to cook on yacht” – probably not. Some of them come from a sailing background and found cooking as a means to getting on a boat. For others it was the reverse. For some it is a reinvention of their life.
Ali grew up sailing with her family on various lakes and rivers in England. While in Univeristy she took RYA sailing courses that found her in the frigid waters of the English Channel. After earning her Engineering degree and an MBA and 15 years in the Corporate world, she decided she needed to make a change. Her true passions were sailing and cooking. So off she went to the prestigious Leiths cookery school in London to complete a Diploma in Food and Wine. With certificate in hand, she returned home to Fowey and worked for a luxury hotel and learned a great deal about the restaurant business from the kitchen and business side.
In 2003 she launched her own catering business cooking for Holiday homes and boats in Fowey gaining a name for herself. Later that year the run down “Toll Bar” came up for sale. She decided to take the plunge and purchased the bar even though it needed a complete refurbishment. With just 7 weeks from the completion of the sale to Easter – beginning of the “high” season – a lot of time and effort was put in. Following the process was a UK TV crew filming for a series “Life Begins Again”. Easter came and the opening was a success at Zutshis at the Toll Bar as everyone wanted to check out the new place on the waterfront.
The food went from strength to strength as Ali’s confidence increased. In the 2008 year the restaurant was awarded the Prestigious Hardens Guide Remy Marten Award – an award based on the ratings and recommendations given by real customers.
Review Zutshi’s at The Toll Bar – Fowey, Cornwall
After garnering a reputation for excellent outside events. Alison Zutschi has taken on the popular Toll Bar, which enjoys commanding views of the water (and the pleasure craft). During the day, fresh home-made cakes and sweets and well made lattes feature alongside great sandwiches, salads and specials of the day. For the evenings, there is a cosy lounge area and the menu features an eclectic mix of food. Signature dishes include Goats feta salad with roasted peppers and balsamic dressing, Salt and Pepper calamari with sweet chilli, moules mariniéres with bread for dipping, salmon and tiger prawns in a coriander sauce with saffron rice, and Carbonnade of Beef with crushed garlic root vegetables and creamy leeks. All home-made and all prepared with the care of someone who loves to cook.
The long hours of the restaurant trade were starting to take their toll. With the reputation of the restaurant sky rocketing so were Ali’s hours. Before she took over the restaurant, Ali could be found at the local yacht club sailing and competeing in club races. Her beau, Bill, was also an avid sailor and they had ideas of sailing the oceans together. With her restaurant at the top and she decided to sell before the economic hardships that were being forcasted hit. With the restaurant sold Ali and her beau, Bill, came full circle. They completed their sailing qualifications together, bought Nauticat of Fowey and set off to follow her true passion once more…sailing and creating gourmet food for guests in the Caribbean aboard their 47ft Leopard catamaran.