Roux Scholarship

Just to update you on the Roux Scholarship finals, (see below) which took place on Monday. Sadly Richard Pascoe didn’t win after all, that went to the delightfully named Ian Scaramuzza, head chef from Hibiscus. Congratulations to Ian who wins £6000 and would like to take his stage at the three star Benu in San Francisco. Commiserations to Richard.

Richard editedCongratulations to young chef Richard Pascoe from the Feversham Arms, Helmsley. He’s made it to the national finals of the Roux Scholarship, a prestigious competition for chefs under 30. For the winner it can be life changing as the prize is an all expenses paid, three month stage at any 3 star Michelin restaurant in the world. Chefs then invariably go on to positions in top restaurants.  One past winner is Adam Smith who chose Le Meurice in Paris, then got a job at the Ritz and is now head chefs at the Burlington restaurant  Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey. Good luck to Richard for the finals on 30 March.


Le Squidbeak Tour

Leeds Town Hall

In case you’ve had your head under the duvet, the 20th Tour de France starts off from Leeds Town Hall on the 5th July and after 191km  of pedaling they reach Harrogate (don’t they know it’s only 25km?) .

The next day starts in York where they depart, of all places, from the Designer Outlet and continue for another 190 km to finish in Sheffield, and that’s it. They’re off to Cambridge then London for the UK finish along the Mall.

Forgive us for being a bit jaded. I’m sure we’ll be swept up in it come July, just like the Olympics, but with all the hype, the special reports, the supplements, Squidbeak have to admit they are not yet counting down.

Still there’s no denying it’s a spectacular route, so we have devised our own Tour, a route that roughly follows day one of Le Tour, but is about the best places to see and eat.

So, unless you want to stand roadside watching 198 riders flash past in the blink of an eye, we suggest you consider taking  Le Squidbeak Tour between now and July  at  our more leisurely pace.

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

The showpiece route centres round the Yorkshire Dales National Park where you can walk the hills and valleys, stroll through chocolate box villages, sample the local craft ales, watch Wensleydale cheese in production and feast on Yorkshire game and Swaledale lamb but most of all, drink in the views. They inspired the French to choose Yorkshire and it’s not hard to see why.

Ilkley is the gateway town of the Dales where you can put a picnic together from the famous Betty’s bakery and tearoom. If you’re feeling flush eat a Michelin star meal at either the Box Tree in Ilkley or the Devonshire Arms, in Wharfedale where the 12th century Bolton Abbey, sits splendidly on a bend on the river Wharfe and where the Dales proper begins.

Box Tree Restaurant, Ilkley

The cyclists will head straight for Grassington, but we can detour through a string of pretty villages: Appletreewick has the delightful Craven Arms and Burnsall the Devonshire Fell. At Grassington, the Grassington House Hotel is good for  lunch or an overnight.  Kilnsey has the mighty roadside crag with its 40ft overhang with invariably a rock climber clinging on to its face. There are detours here to Linton and the  Fountaine Inn, Litton for the Queen’s Arms,  Malham for the peregrines and Arncliffe for the delightfully unspoilt Falcon Inn where ale is still poured from a china jug.

The peloton will be enroute to Kettlewell and over the high pass into Wensleydale, passing close to Aysgarth Falls where a sparkling river Ure pours over broad tables of limestone. Unlike them, you can dawdle in Freeholders Wood carpeted with bluebells and wood anemones in spring. Nearby Hawes is home to the Wensleydale Creamery, with its creamery tour and Wensleydale cheese to take home.

Fifty five miles from Leeds and Le Tour will be heading into Swaledale, my favourite Dale through the villages of Muker – with cream teas in the village tearoom – and Gunnerside where in high summer the wildflower meadows, farmed sustainably for generations, bloom with the likes of buttercups, eyebright and melancholy thistle. We like the Punch Bowl at Low Row and the  CB Inn way up in Arkengarthdale.

Blue Lion, East Witton

At Reeth the peloton will head south to Leyburn where you will eat well at the Sandpiper.  For cake, a coffee and a simple bed for the night, you can’t do better than the Dales Bike Centre at Fremington.  Middleham is famous for it’s racehorse stables and Richard III’s ruined castle then on through pretty East Witton. The cyclists might grab a musette  – a bag of food – you and I can stop for a perfect gastropub lunch at the lovely Blue Lion.  From there it’s a leisurely drive south to Ripon to feast at Lockwoods and the must-see World Heritage  Fountains Abbey before a sprint finish into genteel Harrogate, with its elegant shops, sedate Valley Gardens, glorious Turkish Baths and, of course, Fodder, an irresistible emporium of the finest Yorkshire food produce

After a slap up dinner at Van Zeller’s you can congratulate yourself on completing 120 miles and stage one of the Tour de France 2014, wearing not the yellow jersey but a well earned bib gourmand.

To download a map of the route click here


Devonshire Food Festival

Food festivals are two a penny these days with regulation food stalls, cookery demos, you know the score, but the Devonshire Arms Food Festival promises to be a bit different.

Every day for a week, between 18-24 November top regional and national chefs will be preparing lunch and dinner.  At lunchtime it will be in the form of a lighthearted competitive

Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey

Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey

cook-off – two chefs head to head (£39) over the best lunch.  In the evening it ramps up a bit with a sophisticated six course dinner (£59) prepared by a guest chef.

It’s an impressive line-up from Yorkshire and beyond: Rakesh Ravindran from London’s Cinnamon Club; Matthew Tomkinson of the Michelin-starred Montagu Arms in the New Forest; Mark Poynton from Alimentum, another Michelin-starred restaurant in Cambridge. Then there are three Yorkshire chefs Oliver Adams from the Devonshire Fell; James Mackenzie from the Pipe & Glass and Simon Crannage from Swinton Park.

Adam Smith, head chef at the Burlington, Bolton Abbey

Adam Smith, head chef at the Burlington, Bolton Abbey

The host, naturally, is the Dev’s new young chef Adam Smith who will be competing on Thursday, showcasing on the Saturday night dinner and preparing a fancy-pants afternoon tea (he is ex-Ritz after all) on Sunday.

We’ll be there on Thursday voting in the lunchtime friendly between Adam Smith and another new chef, Lawrence Yates of the Box Tree.

We’ll report back on the winner and, of course, the food.

Devonshire Food Festival, 14-18 November. Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey. To book your place: 01756 710441


New Chef for Devonshire Arms

Adam SmithAs we reported a couple of weeks ago, Steve Smith has departed the Devonshire Arms’ Burlington Restaurant at Bolton Abbey for Bohemia on Jersey and the search has been on for his replacement. News is they’ve appointed Adam Smith, an aspiring young chef from the Ritz.

Only 25 years old, Smith has had an astonishing trajectory. Eight years ago he was washing pots in a Birmingham pub; last year he won a Roux Scholarship and was named Observer Young Chef of the Year followed by a three month stage at the three star Le Meurice in Paris.

Announcing the appointment of Smith to the Burlington Restaurant, General Manager Andrew Mackay said: ‘This is a great opportunity both for us and for Adam. Rather than bring in someone who has already made his mark with Michelin stars who would be doing just more of the same, we wanted to take the chance to support a rising star where he can make our restaurant his own and give it his personality.’

It’s good they’re supporting ‘a rising star’, but I can’t help thinking the management will still have their eyes  on a Michelin. We look forward to see what this Smith can do. He arrives in July.

Devonshire Food Festival


No sooner have we blogged about the stellar cast of chefs cooking at Northcote Manor’s

Obsession Festival, than the Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey are in touch to tell us about the Devonshire Food Festival  a week long event on similar lines to Northcote.

Though the cast list is not as internationally star-studded, at £34 for lunch and £59 in the evening, it is considerably cheaper. So here are the details.

The Festival runs for seven days from 19-25th November. It kicks off on Monday lunchtime when two chefs will compete against each other preparing a starter, main course and a dessert. The winner will be the chef who gets the most orders.

First up is the Devonshire Arms’ own Michelin-starred chef Steve Smith up against Mark Poynton of Alimentum in Cambridge; Tuesday it’s Alan Hill from their sister restaurant in Derbyshire, the Devonshire Arms at Beeley v. Rakesh Ravindan from London’s Cinnamon Club. Other chefs taking part are Anthony Flinn from Anthony’s in Leeds, Dan Birk from the Box Tree and Tim Bilton from the Hepworth Arms. You can see the full list and read the chefs profiles here.

No competitions in the evening, instead a dinner cooked each night by a top chef so you can choose from the likes of James Mackenzie of the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton; Kenny Atkinson, of Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington; Mark Birchall, from L’Enclume in Cartmel  and Simon Crannage from Swinton Park near Masham.  An excellent line-up at almost half the price of the Lancashire line-up, sounds like a good deal.
To book call 01756 710441 or visit



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