We have a new head chef at Island Street, in the form of a friendly face!

Posted by thewinkingprawn on June 22, 2018

Having worked at restaurants across the UK, including Michelin starred The Elephant in Torquay, Lawson Mcelligott is our new head chef and we thought you might like to meet him!




Have you always lived in Devon?


No, I was born in Birmingham and raised in Somerset but I have moved around a lot.  I lived just outside Newcastle for a while, as well as in Cardiff the Cotswolds, and then Torquay.  I had done a lot of technical training and was looking for a new opportunity when a job as a sous chef came up at Island Street a year ago.  It gave me the opportunity to learn more about running the kitchen, and I have been here since, being promoted to head chef this summer.


How did you become a chef?


I started as a KP when I was 13 at a local golf club and I really liked the kitchen environment.  When I was 16 I started to work in a hotel in Cardiff for free on my school holidays, and I got my first job two weeks after my 17th birthday!


What did you do before joining Island Street Bar & Grill?


I was The Elephant in Torquay with Simon Hulstone, who is well known for his high standards.  I was there for 3.5 years and it was very much about fine dining.  Everything had to be exact and I learned a lot about organisation and food preparation.  There were a lot of elements on the plate and everything had to be just so.


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Can we expect any changes to the menu?


We’re going into a busy time of the year at the moment but in the winter we always look to refine it and see where we can improve. We really want to make Island Street known as a foodie destination and are always trying to up the standards.  We try to make as much as we can in-house and wherever possible our ingredients are local.  It’s all about homemade, wholesome and tasty food.


What kind of food are you passionate about?


I like food that lets its ingredients shine through.  I prefer to keep things simple and quite rustic.  If you have amazing local ingredients, I prefer to simply present them so they can speak for themselves - simple, good food that tastes great. 


How important are local ingredients to you?


Very, especially in Salcombe where you have so much great seafood and meat available.  It’s always better to buy local, even if you have to pay that bit extra, because it really shows when you cook it, especially if you’re not tampering with the ingredients too much.




What’s your favourite thing on the menu?


I really like the scallop starter with broad beans and peas, mint, lemon and crispy pancetta, because it’s really summery and fresh.  I also think we do a really nice scotch egg - although I would say that because it was my suggestion.  It’s served warm with mustard mayo and rocket.


We’re recruiting, so what would you say to someone looking to join the team?


It’s a great team to be a part of and, perhaps unusually for a kitchen, it’s a very warm and friendly environment - it’s not a shouty kitchen!  It’s a great opportunity to learn, as long as you’re willing to work hard and put in the hours!