James Duckett is the new chef\/proprietor at the Old Custom house restaurant on Barnstaple's newly revamped Strand. James has a wealth of experience in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants in Bordeaux, Amsterdam, Sydney and London. He comes to Barnstaple from Spain where he has worked for the last six years, initially as head chef at the boutique Hotel Casablanca in the Andalusian white village of Gaucin and for the last four years as chef in his own restaurant there. The Old Custom House restaurant is open for dinner five days a week, Tuesday to Saturday, serving modern European dishes and for tapas and light lunches six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday. James uses only local produce whenever possible and menus change, in part daily to reflect availability and quality of local supplies. All food is prepared on the premises to include bread, pasta, ice cream, Florentines and the little treats James serves as an appetiser with dinner. Although James's background is in the kitchens of some of the most renowned fine dining restaurants in London and internationally, at the Old Custom House the aim is to keep the food relatively simple while retaining the techniques and quality of produce that are essential features of the fine dining experience. James is joined in the kitchen by Jess Parker, previously at the Charlton House Hotel, Shepton Mallet and his front of house manager is Lucy Munns who until recently was with Thistle Hotels.The Old Custom House has about 50 covers and will, in the future be offering outside dining.