Interview with John Hooker, owner/chef of The Cornish Arms

Watch our second Charvet Chef Talk virtual event to hear John Hooker, owner/chef of The Cornish Arms share his insights into:

  • Staff retention – how has he managed to retain all his staff from pre to post lockdown?
  • Lockdown – how did he cope, what did he do?
  • Savings – the equipment that’s saving him £8,000 a year on utilities.
  • The future – what next?… The Cornish Arms on tour

The free online 30-minute interview followed by a live Q&A session is available to watch online, but here are just a few excerpts.

John… on his team

We’re surrounded by an amazing team, without this place, without the people, then we’re nothing you know and that’s almost pulled us together.

… on staff retention

We looked after them, we gave them clarity and then in turn it empowered them to realise that we are going to be here for them, we’ve got their backs and I think that’s why we’ve retained the staff we have.

… on staff well-being

We’re quite a paternal operator, we try to look after the team, treat them how we’d like to be treated and that has stood us in good stead really for their mental health and well-being while they were off.

… on what lockdown has meant to him

If we didn’t have the time and take ourselves out of that comfort zone, of that rat race which you’re always in in hospitality, we never would have achieved it and I think… it’s done me the world of good. I’m a different person, I’m a different operator and it’s all for the better.

… on the effects of the pandemic

We’ve all had to borrow money to get out of this, but it’s all for the greater good, because we had to survive it and would I like to make the decisions they’ve had to (the Government)? No, but would i have made some different decisions? Probably, yes, but if you’re pragmatic about it, I just had to look after myself.

… on Government support

I think they need to increase the support to the hospitality sector… like I said, a lot of operators are losing money hand over foot and they’re burdened with so much debt, they’re leveraging it against their business and they probably perhaps need to increase the support.


You can also listen to the first in the series of Charvet Chef Talks with Jonny Bone, head chef at three-Michelin-starred Core by Clare Smyth.


Charvet Chef Talk Rewind

Watch our latest Chef Talk with Kris Hall and Adam Simmonds of The Burnt Chef Project on the subject of mental health within our industry.