Chef Serves Up Food For Thought
UK - Brian Dooks
'Festival audience 'gingered up' and inspired to cook new dishes – with quality local produce.
YORKSHIRE'S own celebrity chef Brian Turner was cooking up something special yesterday using ingredients found at the first Ryedale Festival of Food and Drink being held at Castle Howard.
Among his selections from local exhibitors was a fillet of Dexter beef being offered by three producers in North and East Yorkshire and the freshest of asparagus from Low Moor Farm at Sand Hutton, near York.
Mr Turner, whose 40-year professional career began at his father's cafe in Leeds, finds that people in the North have a simpler attitude to their food, but most understand quality and they want value.
So when he does demonstrations he does not set out to make anything fancy. "They don't always want something new, but they can get lazy. If I can get them gingered up a bit and inspire them to do something different, then I think I am doing my job."
Among the surprises he has for audiences at Castle Howard is a Raspberry and Pineapple Eccles Cake. "It's just puff pastry with a touch of cinnamon and sugar with raspberries and pineapple. I think it's a really nice dish – either eaten in your fingers or in an evening with some cream."
The beef for one of his meat dishes came from one of three Dexter herds – Jane McBretney's Rawcar Farm at Danby Wiske, near Northallerton, Penny Hodgson's Thornhill Farm at Easingwold and Christine Piercey's Round House Farm at Beverley.
At one stage the diminutive Dexters were a rare breed and even now there are probably only about 3,000 breeding animals in the country. The three herds are grass fed, slaughtered locally to reduce stress and properly hung before being sold.
Mrs McBretney, whose group markets the product as "Little Dexter Mighty Meat", said: "What we say is that if you have not tasted Dexter you have not tasted beef. It is scrumptious – sweet and tender. It is absolutely mouth-watering."