When approcahed by a Master Chef Finalist to see if he can “call in” on his Yorkshire Food Tour it is time to dust off those forager boots and go see what’s out there.
I have to say I have been hearing a lot about Tom Rennolds locally, and his Food Tour of Yorkshire is definitely on a roll.
Travelling in ’Percy’ the VW camper with his mate Johnny and a film crew, Tom is currently ‘gastronomically experiencing’ Yorkshire for a week. We were so pleased that he chose to forage at Rudding Park and we enjoyed preparing and sharing a ’wild cook’ style dinner for the whole team that evening at Clocktower. After a greulling few days on the road and feeling quite content with their surroundings, the team wisely chose a to stay at the hotel instead of their beloved camper! It was a logical decision since their next stop was at Fodder early the next morning, just a mile up the road from Rudding Park. They had scheduled a sausage making session with my mate Paul Nicholson, head butcher at Fodder and incidentally my partner in crime for this year’s Great Yorkshire Show Game Cookery demonstration!
Anyway, back to the boys’ visit to Rudding Park. They rolled up in a camper van (my brother-in-law is a great fan of this mode of transport and I have even owned one myself back in the days of living in Australia, and it did have Mr Men curtains!), and we spent an hour or so foraging the beautiful parkland. Tom is a lovely guy and a really genuine person with an almighty passion for food. He has a great deal of stories about growing up and even some fascinating forager tales, such as crayfishing in his hometown of Ilkley. So Peter and I showed him some of our own crayfish here at Rudding Park!
We continued on and found cleavers, nettles, jack by the hedge, wild garlic, crayfish, the odd pheasant and even a hare! Tom liked the flavour of ground ivy but I think wood sorrel was his favourite which isn’t a bad thing since Rene Redzephi from Noma says that “Wood Sorrel is the glue that sticks his team together”.
Onto Clocktower we drove and enjoyed a relaxed evening eating our way through the following menu:
Forager’s Springtime Soup
Rudding Park Rabbit
prepared by yours truly with marinated loin, confit leg croquette, heart and nettle puree with a rabbit lollipop
’0 miles’ Pigeon with Yorkshire Venison
sweet potato fondant, braised red cabbage
apple sorbet, elderflower jelly (made with last year’s Elderflower cordial as they are not ready yet). However, have any of you seen the buds out and about? They are looking great don’t you think wild cooks?
The Clocktower chefs did us proud, thanks guys and the team out front were great too.
Tom and Johnny plan to visit two great chefs in the region, Brian Turner and Rosemary Shrager. They have both stayed at Rudding Park in the past and I have had the pleasure to meet them on many occasions. Tom, a wild cook’s insight, they are lovely!
The thing I liked to hear about Tom’s Food Tour for Yorkshire is that he is visiting large and small companies and meeting people who really contribute to and support local produce in the region. It’s a great idea lads and good luck to them as later this year they are hosting a food festival in Tom’s home town of Ilkley.
Thanks guys for asking me to take part in some foodie fun in Ilkley, I cannot wait. It sounds like a great idea and a grand day out. Good luck with the rest of the tour, I hope “Percy” can cope with all this food – he should feel very honoured to have a home made camper van cake on board!!
A real pleasure to meet you Tom, happy cooking. Yorkshire is a better place with you in it Chef!