Fresh, fabulous, friendly
Amélies owner Sam Sheffield-Dunstan grew up around fine food and successful people. Her parents owned a wine bar in Hertfordshire where the glitterati would gather. “From the ages of 9 to 14 that’s what I was surrounded with,” Sam recalls, “The rich and famous would eat and drink and I was there. I was often out back with my uncle, the chef in the kitchen too. I learnt a lot about food. And about how people want to be treated.”
Adventures in Oz
After studying a degree in Broadcasting at Falmouth College of Arts a 25 year-old Sam packed her bags and headed for the bright lights of Sydney, Australia.
“I was working as a video editor, but alongside that I used to work in a little café in Vaucluse,” she recalls. “I’d go round the markets at Sydney Harbour to buy produce. I loved it. Then one day – I remember it vividly – we took a sea plane to Rose Bay and had this unbelievable picnic on a deserted island and that was it – I knew I wanted to change my career path and work in the catering business.”
When she returned to the UK, Sam headed back to Cornwall to work for herself, doing the thing she loved the most. She travelled around the Duchy in a 3-wheeled Piaggio delivering top-notch private catering to houses, events and weddings across the county.
“A front page article on Cornwall Today really launched us and together with my partner Will I got the franchise for the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club,” says Sam. “We also ran outside catering, weddings and the like and we grew so much we knew it was time to find a permanent home. We opened Amélies in 2010, named after my daughter, who was born two years earlier. I also took the opportunity to convert my experience to a formal chef’s degree, studying under the brilliant Mark Devonshire and Philip Oakes at Cornwall College.”
Mark Devonshire is a familiar face at chef demonstrations and food festivals across Cornwall. He spent 17 years working for Rick Stein in Padstow, where he helped set up the cookery school and as well as running foraging courses and cooking at events and dinner parties across the county. He’s also been teaching at Cornwall College for six years.
On the Beeb
“I love Porthleven. I’m very fond of Sam and we got on like a house on fire. I’m looking forward to going down there next time I’m in Cornwall… Amélies is a fantastic restaurant.” – Alex Polizzi
In 2014 Sam was approached to have Amélies appear on a brand new Alex Polizzi show called Chefs on Trial on the BBC. She turned it down, but then eight producers and crew turned up and literally came knocking at the door.
“So we agreed to be a part of the series and Alex really helped us to move our restaurant forward in lots of different ways, including looking at the possibility of opening a second restaurant. We recently became a licensed wedding venue and we love welcoming friends old and new to our beautiful restaurant by the sea.”
We call it the Amélies family — come and be a part of our story.