Ben’s Cornish Kitchen: driven by a passion for South African wine

Tuesday, 10 September, 2019, Roger Jones
It’s not easy setting up a winemakers event at the best of times. But if you are based at the very tip of Cornwall, persuading a group of winemakers with busy schedules to make time for an entire weekend of events, and to get there in the first place, takes a very special kind of dedication.

But for Ben Prior, whose restaurant Ben’s Cornish Kitchen is in Marazion and Portminster, the two events he’s organised this weekend – Riding the Third Wave and a winemakers dinner featuring five star chefs – are all part of his passion for South African wines. Fellow chef and wine expert Roger Jones talks to him about the weekend and how he has gone about expanding into online sales.

“My drive to really help show off these wines on my wine list came when I met the winemakers – their passion, drive, deep thought and care about every building block of the wine. It was inspiring to me and is how I feel about hospitality in my restaurant,” says Prior

The South Africans are in town; well actually they are hot-footing it down to Cornwall this weekend… for a bit of surfing? Possibly, but the reason they are heading down to Cornwall or specifically to Marazion and Portminster is down to one man, chef come South African wine lover – Ben Prior.

Although maybe rugby was more in these two South African winos on Tuesday night after the sold out “New Wave” tasting in London.

In recent years Ben has transformed his little restaurant Ben’s Cornish Kitchen by the seaside into a Mecca for South African wines, hosting a monthly focus on individual prestige South African wineries.

Ben has been with me on a couple of my wine safaris to South Africa, and even joined me in the kitchen at my pop-up events at The Vineyard Hotel. But where did his love of South African wine come from?

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