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Dear Wild Cooks,

It is not often that you get asked to be a part of a brand new food festival by a local Michelin starred establishment. So when I was approached by The Devonshire Arms to participate in their 2011 Food Festival it was a real pleasure to accept the challenge.

It was a battle between the Harrogate chefs as I competed against Tom Van Zeller from his award winning restaurant in Harrogate.

Harrogate Chef, Tom Van Zeller

Harrogate Chef, Tom Van Zeller

The day started with an early morning cup of coffee with the Breakfast Chef at the Devonshire Arms…it all seemed so civilised! I then ran through my menu with Restaurant Manager, Valentin Gadjonov, and his team.

Briefing the Restaurant Manager and the team before the Devonshire Food Festival
Briefing the Restaurant Manager and the team before the Devonshire Food Festival


Tickets sold out rapidly and therefore the pressure was on as we both demonstrated in front of a full house trying to win votes on their preferred menu.

Here is my menu:

Roast Duck Salad
beetroot hedgerow crisps and forager’s relish
( A Wild Cook’s idea of fun. I love the combination of the sweet and sour and the forager’s relish really cuts thought the fat of the Yorkshire free range Leven ducks)

Pork Fillet
confit potato cake, quince (forager’s fun again!) and Ampleforth amber liquor sauce
(The pork fillets were locally sourced from Easingwold. I also use confit of pork ashen in a potato cake with leeks rolled and fried in Scotch large oats – lovely stuff!)

Apples, Plums and Pears
(I left this to the guests’ imagination however it was made up of a dark chocolate marquise with flambé plums, pear parfait and apple crumble with vanilla sauce)

Plating up my starter

Plating up my starter

Tom’s menu
 
Scallops Escabeche
pumpkin sorbet and pumpkin seeds
(Escabeche literally means ‘marinated’)

Local Partridge
Tom’s partridge was rolled into a sausage shape and gently poached and served with a selection of accompaniments including black pudding crumbs and pastry parcels, it looked stunning.

Frozen Pannacotta
flambé quince

Tom with his Sous Chef, the Devonshire Pastry Chef Ellen and her colleague Archie prepare his pudding plates

Tom with his Sous Chef, the Devonshire Pastry Chef Ellen and her colleague Archie prepare his pudding plates

Although Tom’s menu won on the day, it was a great challenge and a real pleasure for me to cook at The Devonshire Arms.


Personally I think Steve Smith, Head Chef at the Burlington Restaurant, is a legend on the northern food scene and in my opinion is arguably the finest chef in the North of England.

A special hello to Ellen de Jager, the Pastry Chef at The Devonshire Arms, and her Commis Chef Gemma. They did an amazing job helping me with my mini puddings!

All in all it was a great day and well done to Tom and the team at The Devonshire Arms. Rebecca Hill, Marketing Manager, did a fantastic job of organising and overseeing the day.

Steph x

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