Four Boys is an inherently Cornish eatery, a place for locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy the abundance of fresh, local produce. We met up with George Turner and Indy Cockroft to find out more.

Four Boys opened this year, coincidently, on April Fool’s Day; the restaurant’s meticulous strategy and concept is far from a joke, but the family-owned café’s ethos is all about the fun and enjoyment of good food. Four Boys Café in Rock, Cornwall is named after the celebrated local caterer Fee’s four sons. Following the great success of Fee’s catering business, the family acquired the premises for the restaurant overlooking the estuary towards Padstow, for the brothers to run and make their own. Her eldest son, George Turner is the restaurant’s manager, he spearheaded the opening and effortlessly sets a relaxed friendly tone to the front of house. His younger brother Alfie is a talented young chef who helps curate the weekly menu, and George's girlfriend Indy tends the gardens providing fresh produce to the family businesses. We were delighted when our friends, George and Indy, invited us to Rock for the day to see how it’s all been going in their first five months of opening.

Inclement weather doesn’t stop play in Cornwall, anyone holidaying here is more than used to the daily, often hourly, fluctuations and just gets on with it. When we arrived the beaches of Polzeath and Rock were crowded with surfers, body-boarders and rock hoppers of all ages. Watchful parents stood huddled until called upon, cups of coffee grasped between hands discussing the next meal and when the sun might make an appearance. Despite the wet weather warnings there were queues for the Camel Ski school and a tail back for Rock’s only carpark right outside Four Boys, so to say this seaside town holds appeal is a massive understatement. Rock and Polzeath, the surfing beachside town just 5 minutes’ drive away, see’s people return year after year. They holiday with friends and fellow Rock fans and enjoy the town’s north coast proximity to Padstow just across the Camel estuary, Port Isaac 20 minutes up the coast and Newquay 20 minutes down. But what is it exactly that melds it all together, brings people back again and again? Other than the sea and surf it’s 100% all about the food you can enjoy while you’re here. Cornwall, and in particular this area of the north coast, is teeming with British gastronomic giants, Michelin star chefs and sparky little café restaurants like Four Boys celebrating all that Cornwall, it’s seas and land, have to offer. Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth have restaurants here, Angela Hartnett’s The Pig hotel is just up the estuary and Gordon Ramsay has a house in Rock. Shortly after Four Boys opened Gordon Ramsay posted himself and his son enjoying a burger in the restaurant, applauding their “delicious and elegant” food and claiming that “A new star is born in Rock”. High praise indeed. But we wanted to know more about the intriguing story behind this family run business and their deep-rooted joy of sharing their simple, good food.

George moved from London to Cornwall in 1999 with his family when he was just five years old. They had visited Cornwall every summer and had founded a deep connection with the sea and the relaxed way of life. Along with his three brothers, Alfie, Hal and Mark, George grew up and was educated in Cornwall. George’s mother Fee had trained in catering at Leiths in London and had spent numerous ski seasons cooking for hungry, bustling Alpine chalets. George’s dad worked in advertising at the time but had always worked with wood and renovated his own houses. He’s now a cabinet maker building bespoke kitchens and pieces of furniture. So, they were well positioned to both grow Fee’s catering business and, having bought a piece of land outside a village called Withiel, build a house from scratch. They later sold it and bought a run-down small hotel in rock which George’s father renovated and is now the family home where the boys grew up. During their family trips to Cornwall Fee had spotted a market for wholesome, homemade food, a welcome change from the pasties, chips and ice-cream. As a party lover herself, Fee started catering for weddings and canape parties, the side to her business which still remains her biggest joy. She then went on to make a small range of oven-ready meals which she delivered to holidaying families and locals as a welcome healthy reprieve. Fee’s catering business really took off at this point, her enthusiasm and love of making amazing food for others driving her forward at the same time as growing her appeal. 

“We’ve all mucked in, running bars and helping mum prep for her events, so this feels calm in comparison to the carnage we grew up in”.

George and his brothers were always involved in what he describes as the ‘chaos’ of catering, helping to run evening bars at weddings, waiting food and unpacking vans late at night. Their childhoods were deeply immersed in the talk of food and the simple yet celebratory act of cooking food for others was a regular occurrence. Meals were often shared with visiting family and friends, George remembers countless occasions when a small family meal would escalate first into a few friends joining them and then a few more until every last seat, window ledge and bench was taken. 

“Mum is so relaxed she will quickly turn a leg of lamb that was going to be for four into a salad for twenty-five with a couple of vegetables from the garden thrown in, that’s really been the ethos I grew up with”.

In 2017, after a few years in London, George moved back to Cornwall to officially go into business with his mum. First, they opened Fee’s, a Deli and Café in Rock and later a second site down by the harbour in Port Isaac. With physical sites opened their family’s shared joy of food could be explored further. The café’s serve as an extension to Fee’s home kitchen, offering a relaxed and friendly space for locals and tourists to meet and share stories over something delicious. As they grew out of the small prep kitchen at home, they converted an old agricultural barn just outside Rock to house their offices and a far bigger kitchen. Now with their team of chefs, it’s here they make the daily fresh dishes from scratch; big salads, tarts, quiches, sausage rolls and cakes everything for the cafés and delis, as well as their range of premium ready meals. George tells us that their ready meals are made using “spanking local produce” he says, “people don’t always expect it, and we are not good at shouting about our suppliers, but these are the real deal.” They include big family fish pies, lasagnes and curry’s which they sell predominantly to the holiday market. 

At Four Boys, the food for their famously hearty breakfasts and sharing plates lunch service, is all prepared and cooked on site and as a separate entity to the rest of the empire. They host regular events, and they have just introduced an evening service on Saturdays which you can book in advance. The family, in particular George, had always aspired to have a restaurant, “something we could really have some fun with”; Four Boys is that next step, the next generation if you like. George now has freedom to find his own tone of voice in running the restaurant, making it something of his own. As someone who has literally lived and breathed food all his life he oozes with enthusiasm when we talk about the menu and the bountiful ingredients to be sourced around the area. 

“Our menu changes often, guided by what’s in season. At lunch seafood and vegetables take centre stage, served as plates to share. We grow flowers and veg organically and source what we can’t produce locally.”

As a family run business in the truest sense our conversation turned to the other members and their involvement. George’s younger brother Alfie trained as a chef in London, most recently working for Tim Siadatan in the kitchens of Trullo in Islington. Trullo is celebrated for its seasonally focused British take on Italian cooking. This summer Alfie moved back to Cornwall to bring his expertise and inspiration to Four Boys. Hal, the youngest of the brothers, has been helping in the kitchens as a prep-chef while he’s home this summer and Mark, though he doesn’t officially work for the business, we’re told is a fantastic customer! Alongside her jewellery making, George’s girlfriend Indy spends most of her time tending to the kitchen garden, behind Fee’s house. The gardens supply the kitchens and delis with fresh seasonal veg, salad and herbs as well as Indy’s beautifully cared for Dalia’s. The tables at Four Boys are colourfully adorned with jugs and vases full of her pretty, homegrown flowers. Indy’s flowers are now also used to decorate tables at some of the weddings which the family cater for.   

“Mum loves a party, she’s not a fancy chef she’s a caterer, she must have fed millions of people over the years”.

The menu at Four Boys is clearly inspired by the simple but good food prepared for the boys throughout their lives, but you can also sense that this restaurant is destined to take on its own unique persona. With Alfie’s experience at Trullo and head Chef Matt Wadsworth’s time training with Guy Owen at the local St Enodoc Hotel they are each bringing their own creative ideas. They use a charcoal grill for many of their fish and meat dishes, we ate delicious grilled mackerel with anchoiade and roast tomatoes, full of flavour and both seasonal and local all at once. There are so many fun gestures with their dishes too, the steak frites butty with mustard aioli is a big hit and hilarious to watch hungry people navigate! They have plans to hold regular Sunday lunch and music events after the roaring success of their first attempt the day before our visit- it was packed out by all accounts and enjoyed by all. Our mutual friend and musician Nathan Ball DJ’d for them, and they put on a seasonal menu of small sharing plates.

Four Boys is certainly in the right family’s hands and destined for good things. It sits in the perfect spot, a foody heaven, and has the support and praise of some of the country’s best chefs; Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant staff are regulars. With the collaborative effort of the whole Turner family and their extended family of good friends who have enjoyed their food for decades we see a bright future indeed. We can’t wait for our next trip to Rock, more delicious foody samples and to hear about George and Indy’s exciting next steps. So, if you do find yourself in a queue for the carpark in Rock, look to your right and take time out in Four Boys, we’d recommend the courgette fritti!

To follow what George and Indy have in store for Four Boys, or to book a table, visit their Instagram page