Middleton lodge
Middleton Lodge are back with a new pop-up al fresco dining experience, taking place each weekend in their rural North Yorkshire estate. We catch up with Gareth Rayner, the brains behind the new menu, to see what we can expect

What can we expect from ML's new dining experience?
We're channelling Mediterranean vibes for the new pop-up weekends. We'll be using this opportunity to share some of the incredible produce we have harvested from the kitchen garden over the past weeks. Diners can expect lots of fresh herbs, a little spice and a cool, relaxed atmosphere.

Did you do much experimenting in the kitchen during lockdown?
I haven't been doing a huge amount of experimenting in my kitchen at home, I have been cooking everyday but it has mainly been family favourites, lots of tasty salads and barbecues in the sunshine. I've been back in the kitchen at Middleton Lodge Estate for the last week and have spent the time between the kitchen and the kitchen gardens, playing with seasonal flavours and pulling new dishes together for our new menus.

Favourite dish on the new three-course menu?
It's a hard one to choose but I love the vegetarian spiced aubergine dish, and the Moroccan spiced chicken dish is particularly tasty.

Where did you get the inspiration for the menu from?
I always start with the kitchen garden and what is thriving there. Inspired by our al fresco setting, I wanted to bring some of the mediterranean to Yorkshire so began playing with the fresh flavours and a casual, laid-back dining experience.

What has been growing in the Kitchen Garden over the past few months that you can now make the most of?
We have loads coming through just in time for the re-opening. Lots of greens like peas, broad beans and courgettes that make a tasty addition to our salads, and act well as a garnish to our more robust lamb dishes. Pink fir potatoes should be ready soon, too.

How are you feeling about being back in the kitchen?
The team at Middleton Lodge Estate is like an extended family, so I am looking forward to seeing everyone who's back on the estate (safely of course). There is so much produce to play with so I'm really looking forward to spending time experimenting.

Any positives to come from the lockdown?
I've enjoyed the slower pace of life, it's usually 100mph, but I'm looking forward to regaining my focus and coming back to the kitchen with renewed energy.

Published in: July 2020

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