Once again I’ve been snapping around the wood smoke and floating embers down at The Deer Park Hotel with Manna from Devon. By now it’s no secret just how much I love this style of cooking. It’s honest, intense and takes a surprising delicate touch. Listening in, as photographers do, I realise it brings out the child in those new to it. Maybe it’s the engagement that the cook has with the ingredients when cooking out doors. Carefully judging the oven by touch and sight as opposed to using a thermostat and digital timer. There is a freedom to open air cookery. We all feel it when we break out the barbeque for those 2.5 glorious days of the English summertime. With the wood-fired oven it’s all so new, yet so primitive. The flames and embers not only cook but join in with the finished dish. Adding their own seasoning that, despite what some manufacturers produce, cannot be bottled. I think the sense of wonder is akin to that ‘eating a tomato when on holiday in Italy’ moment (or Spain, France…basically somewhere warm where they don’t refrigerate their toms)! Maybe it’s re-discovery, the ‘oh yeah, that’s it’ reaction.