July 26 2010
After sushi in a box and picnics in a basket comes Cornwall in a car – or, more precisely, caterer Vanessa Littlejohn in an open-topped BMW with a cornucopia of fresh and organic Cornish goodies on the back seat.
Twice lately I have encountered Littlejohn (pictured) at smart London parties and feasted on her stunning buffets of everything from paellas to freshly-caught West Country trout and mackerel, through to curries.
Originally from London, Vanessa lived in Highgate but upped sticks and moved to Cornwall where she was the chef in her own gastro-pub for a while. She now lives with her second husband on a smallholding in the countryside. When she caters, everything she serves comes from local farms and has generally been picked, caught, laid or slaughtered that morning. Wherever in London she provides one of her buffets becomes a little corner – or should that be a large table – that is forever Cornwall. Mostly she cooks everything in her Cornish home kitchen beforehand, including gorgeous breads and scones.
Vanessa Littlejohn’s fresh and local cookery philosophy seems to suit the health-orientated smarter London sets and her buffet tables certainly trump a row between men at a party over whose turn it is to be in charge of the barbecue. She also caters at venues closer to home.