MasterChef winner James Nathan on his passion for surfing and cooking in Cornwall. Interview: Alex Fisher

I moved to Cornwall six years ago, but I grew up in Bristol and used to come down to Bude to surf all the time. I always wanted to open a café in Bude, but then I ended up training to be a barrister and my life took a different direction.

I worked as a lawyer for a while, but I still yearned to cook, so I entered MasterChef in 2008. It was the turning point for me. I’d never been in a professional kitchen before, and although it was stressful, I loved it. After I won, I worked for Rick Stein for a couple of years, before I opened my own restaurant, The Green Room, in 2012.

I still love to surf; it’s a great way to touch base with nature and de-stress. Surfing is like cooking, in that both activities are all about being in the moment. You can’t repeat that particular wave or that particular meal – it needs to be experienced right now.

Cornwall is the perfect place to live if you’re a chef. When I lived in London, I was disconnected from my ingredients, but now our meat and vegetables come from the farms and fields around where I live, and the fish straight off the boats just a few miles away. I’m living in nature’s larder and it’s beautiful. It sounds corny, but it is a dream come true.

To book a table at The Green Room, visit

"Surfing is like cooking, in that both activities are all about being in the moment."