From renowned restaurateurs to home-grown local food experts, Living North’s Christmas Fair has a packed schedule of demonstrations from some of the best names in the business
Chef-owner Neil Bentinck opened his dining room, skosh, in the historic city of York in June 2016 and has held York’s only Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2017. Housed in a newly-refurbished, Grade II-listed building, Neil has designed a modern and informal space in which to enjoy an eclectic mix of snacks and small plates with a succinct wine list, local and international craft beers and seasonal cocktails. Neil trained in York before moving to Australia, and has travelled extensively through Asia. On his return he worked at the Pipe and Glass, Van Zeller, Northcote and the Star Inn.
EightyEight at Grantley Hall
Extensively travelled and experienced, Ben has spent time cooking on three different continents and his knowledge of pan-Asian cuisine is second to none. Now Head Chef at Restaurant EightyEight at Grantley Hall, Ben’s vision for his kitchen is to create innovative and visually-inspiring dishes without watering down cultures or doing injustice to heritage and traditions, playfully blending influences and flavours to showcase the quality of Yorkshire’s finest ingredients.
Samuel’s at Swinton Estate
Andrew heads up a talented team of chefs at Swinton Park’s fine dining Samuel’s Restaurant. Having trained at two Michelin starred-restaurants, Andrew creates innovative dishes that are full of fresh, new ideas – incorporating the estate to plate ethos of Samuel’s Restaurant and utilising ingredients from the neighbouring Walled Garden.
Host at Ilkley
Joel grew up familiar with the restaurant industry – his father Chris Monkman runs a private dining company. While he wasn’t always destined to pursue a career in the restaurant trade, Joel landed a demi chef role working at Harvey Nichols’ Fourth Floor Café and Bar in Leeds, before going on to do a ski season working in chalets. When he returned he moved down to Cornwall with a job at Rick Steins’ seafood restaurant, working his way up to Chef de Partie. Moving back up North after a few years, Joel went on to work at Ham and Friends, before launching his very own venture, Host – a modern British restaurant with a special emphasis on locally-sourced small plates.
La Trattoria at Helmsley and La Pizzeria at Malton
Born in South Africa, with Italian heritage, Francois started working in restaurants aged 14. He came to England in 2005 and it was in London, in the narrow galley kitchen of an Italian restaurant, that he first gained the nickname The Fat Chef. In 2013 he founded The Fat Chef Company, initially an event catering business and restaurant consultancy. As The Fat Chef Company developed, the focus of the business changed, and in 2016 Francois began working on his first restaurant. La Pizzeria opened in August 2017, serving authentic Neapolitan pizza and oven-baked Italian classics, all cooked traditionally in a wood-fired oven. In June 2018 he opened La Trattoria, bringing a taste of contemporary Italian life to the heart of Helmsley.
Having trained at Roux Restaurants, which dominated the restaurant scene in the 1980s, Michael returned to his native York to open a superb fine-dining restaurant, Melton’s. Serving modern British cuisine in an informal atmosphere, Melton’s quickly became one of York’s leading restaurants and he has since opened Walmgate Ale House. Michael’s principal focus throughout his career has been on sustainability, seasonality and supporting the local region.
Darlington-based Burtree have won more Great Taste Awards than some people have had hot meals, and for good reason: Jean Christophe Novelli once said he’d be happy with a Burtree sticky toffee pudding as his last meal. Their family recipes update the old classics with modern touches that take them a cut above the rest, while new puds are being tested all the time.
Currently Co-Head Chef of Leeds’ HOME, Mark found his passion for the kitchen young. Having moved through lots of wonderful kitchens, and garnered lots of experience in each and every one, Mark has spent time working at Michel Roux’s two-Michelin starred Le Gavroche, making it to the regional finals of the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship, acting as Sous Chef at Harome’s lauded Star Inn, and leading the team at Ilkley’s The Box Tree (where he maintained their Michelin-starred status). After leaving The Box Tree, he founded HOME restaurant in Leeds with his business partner and Co-Head Chef, Liz Cottam – a casual fine dining restaurant, where tasting menus change monthly to make the most of the great seasonal ingredients on offer around Yorkshire.
At The Dinner Party
Originally from a small market town in Northumberland, Dan moved to the market town of Malton in 2013, after spending five years living and working in central London. In 2017, following a successful three-year career as Head Chef at the Talbot Hotel in Malton, Dan decided to embark on a new venture and set up his own business – At the Dinner Party by Dan Graham – which brings the experience of a restaurant to your home or chosen venue. Throughout his career as a professional chef he has had the opportunity to work in some of the best restaurants in the world, with his biggest highlight working at Michel Roux Jnr’s restaurant Le Gavroche in Mayfair, London, where he feels he was transformed from a good chef to a great chef under the watchful eye of the Roux family. Dan’s most memorable highlight was in 2009, when he reached the final three of the BBC’s MasterChef The Professionals, where he finished runner up
The Pheasant Hotel
The Pheasant Hotel, a charmingly rustic hotel with a laid-back, friendly atmosphere is fast becoming a foodie paradise with its award-winning restaurant. Head Chef Peter Neville has owned and run The Pheasant with his business parter Jacquie Pern since 2009, and over the years his menus have evolved to reflect his interest in foraged ingredients and local produce; resulting in fresh, clean dishes with deceptively-simple flavours.
The Patisserie Malton
When Andrew left school, he was told he would never be able to do anything more than menial work due to his dyslexia. But he went on to successfully complete catering courses at York College and was later employed by Middlethorpe Hall. After working at various pubs and cafes, Andrew decided it was time to open his own business – a small sandwich shop in Newbiggin, which was a success. But, he had his sights set higher, and his love always remained in patisserie. Eventually securing a site on Saville Street in Malton, with the help of Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, Andrew worked hard to turn a former kitchenware shop into the bustling café that has become a firm local favourite for delicious coffees, teas, bakes, breakfast and lunches – and, of course, patisserie.
The Angel at Hetton
Michael’s experience of freshly-cooked food and multi-cultural cuisine started at a young age, travelling extensively from the Far East to America and Europe. Although he had a promising career as a professional BMX biker, his parents encouraged him to attend catering college, and after three years he moved to Spain to experience the cuisine. Upon his return, he began working at Broughton Park, under Paul Heathcote, which led him to work in a number of kitchens including L’Ortolan, alongside John Burton Race, and achieve Michelin stars at the Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms and Michael’s Nook, among others. In September 2018, Michael, along with his wife, took over the Angel Inn at Hetton, where he now creates his technically-accomplished dishes with a focus on fresh and sustainable produce, which this year secured him a coveted Michelin star.
Taking inspiration from seasonal ingredients, Steph cooks up a three-course meal with a festive flavour. Steph has been on BBC Great British menu and is a regular on the Yorkshire Food Scene.
Forge at Middleton Lodge
Gareth Rayner is the Head Chef at Forge at Middleton Lodge. The restaurant, located in the grounds of a Georgian country estate in North Yorkshire, launched in December 2018, with Gareth at its helm from the very beginning. Gareth’s menu celebrates the produce grown from the Kitchen Garden, and focuses on locally-sourced, high-quality produce and ingredients. As the menu changes with the seasons, they preserve elements from the estate to use during the winter months.
The Grand York Cookery School
Andrew Dixon, former three-AA Rosette restaurant owner and qualified lecturer, is the 2pm
The Grand York Cookery School
Andrew Dixon, former three-AA Rosette restaurant owner and qualified lecturer, is the Head Chef Tutor at York’s new, state-of-the-art culinary initiative, The Cookery School At The Grand, York. Andrew is keen to teach fundamental and transferable skills, tricks of the trade, and delicious recipes in an unforgettable learning environment – providing cookery classes for all abilities and across a range of cuisines.Head Chef Tutor at York’s new, state-of-the-art culinary initiative, The Cookery School At The Grand, York. Andrew is keen to teach fundamental and transferable skills, tricks of the trade, and delicious recipes in an unforgettable learning environment – providing cookery classes for all abilities and across a range of cuisines.