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Meet The Award-Winning Chef Who's Opened a New Restaurant in Bedale

Ruth Hansom @ruthhansom
February 2024
Reading time 4 Minutes

Living North meet award-winning chef Ruth Hansom from Darlington

As she opens her new restaurant in Bedale, she shares the secrets to culinary success, and how women can thrive in her industry.

Growing up in Darlington, Ruth started cooking at home from a young age and began to grow her own fruit and veg in the garden aged around 12. She entered The FutureChef Competition for under 16s and made it to the national final in London. ‘At the competition I got the contact details of a chef and decided to apply to study at Westminster Kingsway College while working for him,’ Ruth tells us. ‘After a year there I moved on to The Ritz to do my Royal Academy of Culinary Arts apprenticeship and stayed there a total of five years.’ At The Ritz, Ruth was trained by executive chef and fellow Northerner John Williams, which was an invaluable experience for her.

During her time at The Ritz Ruth worked hard to improve her skillset and confidence, and it clearly paid off. Her career highlights include becoming the first ever female winner of Young National Chef of the Year. ‘After being second and third in previous years I has hungry to win and so it was a great feeling to finally take the title,’ says Ruth. She also represented Team UK at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 and won the North East and Yorkshire heat of Great British Menu in 2020. You might’ve also watched her cooking for James Martin on weekend TV.

Read More: Meet Strictly Come Dancing's Costume Designer, Vicky Gill

@hansom.bedale @hansom.bedale

Following roles as head chef at Luton Hoo Hotel and The Princess of Shoreditch, last year Ruth took on the role of executive chef at Swinton Park, launching her first signature menu at the historic Samuel’s Restaurant. ‘Swinton is an incredible place, like no other for produce,’ she tells us. ‘You really do have the best ingredients you could ask for; game shot on the estate, pork and beef reared across the 20,000 acres and stunning seasonal fruits, vegetables herbs and wild mushrooms.’

Most recently Ruth has been working hard to open her own 16-seater tasting menu restaurant and wine bar with her husband, Mark Hansom-Rigby, in Bedale. She says this has been a goal for them for a long time, and ‘the hard work starts now!’ Over the years Ruth has developed a love for modern British cuisine and she’s an advocate for making use of local suppliers – and we’re told this is what we can expect from her new venture. ‘The restaurant will be intimate but relaxed,’ she says, ‘and with a menu focusing on Yorkshire provenance and seasonality. Upstairs the wine bar will focus on interesting wines that change often, alongside small plates following the same produce ethos.’

Reflecting on her career so far, Ruth has plenty to celebrate. ’I never really knew where the industry would take me but I was very excited by all the opportunities that I saw from a young age. Back then, most of the opportunities were happening in London, but that’s changing and there is so much happening for the restaurant scene in the North now and that will only keep growing.’ Her advice for budding female chefs is ‘to knuckle down’. ‘It’s a tough industry,’ she says, ‘but remember it also offers so many rewards for those who put in the time.’

In terms of challenges for women working in this sector, Ruth says it has got a lot better over the past few years. ‘I would say one major factor would be the hours and work schedules can be incompatible if you want to start a family, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.’ She uses chefs Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Monica Galetti as good examples of this.

As she transitions from chef to both chef and restaurant owner, Ruth is ready to take on the challenge with both hands. ‘There’s lots to learn along the way,’ she concludes. ‘It’s very exciting!’

Quick-Fire Questions

Your favourite place to walk in the North?
Along the River Swale in Richmond and coastal walks by Whitby and Scarborough.

An item you couldn’t live without.
A spoon!

Advice you’d give your younger self.
Slow down. Do everything properly. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Your favourite place to eat and drink in the North East?
House of Tides is always a good shout. I’m yet to try Kenny [Atkinson]’s new place, Solstice but it’s on the list!

Your go-to lazy supper?
Pasta with salted butter and freshly ground black pepper.

Hansom Restaurant & Wine Bar in Bedale is now taking bookings from February to April at

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