Chef Shaun Rankin heads to North Yorkshire

Shaun Rankin has been named executive chef at the new Grantley Hall Country House Hotel near Ripon. Quite a coup for owner Valeria Sykes who bought the neglected Palladian mansion in 2015 with a view to turning it into the best country house hotel in the north of England.

 

Having spent a large fortune on it – some £70 million, Grantley Hall will open in the spring with 47 bedrooms, four restaurants and a spa set to outdo all other spas. Why settle for a gym and a pool when you can have a snow room, an underwater treadmill, a cryotherapy chamber and a 3D body scanner.

 

 

 

 

Food and drink will be provided by three bars and four restaurants: Eighty Eight, the ‘playfully innovative’ Asian restaurant. Fletchers for casual dining, healthy eating in the spa and  ‘Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall’.

 

Shaun Rankin in case you’ve forgotten, was born in County Durham, brought up in Yorkshire and while he’s spent the majority of his career at Ormer in Jersey winning a Michelin star in 2017, he did have a stint at the Black Bull at Moulton in the early 90’s and is currently executive chef at Ormer in Mayfair’s Flemings Hotel, making guest appearances on Masterchef, Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen.

 

His role at Grantley is as ‘chef consultant’ which by my understanding means he will establish the character, create the menus and supervise a team though day to day cooking will be by a head chef yet to be named with Rankin flitting between North Yorks and Mayfair.

 

As for what’s cooking, they’ve quoted the usual stuff about regional and seasonal. They’ve announced the creation of a kitchen garden and beehives, both de rigeurfor any high dining restaurant and they’ve announced a signature dish of rhubarb crumble soufflé with rosehip and iced clotted cream but nothing more. With a reputation to uphold and room rate starting at £350 a night rising to £5000 for the Presidential Suite, it’s a fair bet that portions will be small, exquisite and tweezered. We’ll be reporting back when it opens.

Competition Time

They like putting themselves through it at Rudding Park. We’ve just heard that consultant chef Stephanie Moon and sous chef Robert Hutchins are taking part in two of the most high profile competitions in the country.

Hutchins has reached the finals of the Roux Scholarship. The winner who gets a three month stage at a 3-Michelin starred restaurant ‘anywhere in the world’, is invariably launched on a glittering career. Hutchins competed against 18 eager young hopefuls from places like the Ritz and Pont de la Tour and is now down to the last six. The finals take place in April. Congratulations and good luck from Squidbeak..

Stephanie Moon

When Stephanie Moon took part in last year’s Great British Menu on BBC2, she claimed it was the toughest and most stressful thing she had ever done. But like childbirth she must have forgotten the pain and only remembered the joys. She didn’t reach  the final, but won through a few rounds and the judges loved her inspired pudding that was a Jackson Pollock affair eaten straight off the table.

For 2012, the producers claim that they’ve brought together ‘the biggest names in the culinary world’ to prepare an Olympic Feast. Steph is back and competing with her in the north east regional round are Colin McGurran of Winteringham Fields and Charlie Larkin of the Marquis restaurant in Kent. Kent? He’s a Yorkshireman whose served time at the Star at Harome and the Feversham Arms.

Stephanie Moon in last year's Great British Menu

Now into its seventh series, Great British Menu is uncannily similar to ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish’ in which our Mandy was an esteemed judge and managed to offend one of the country’s supposed top chefs by suggesting his Squidbeaky pudding – a plate of dinky dibs and dabs needed more focus, a tart maybe. He replied acidly that he hadn’t done that sort of thing since the 1980s. If either gets invited back, we’ll let you know.

Tim Bilton, Award Winner

Tim Bilton

Just can’t hold Tim Bilton down these days. Last month the chef/owner of the Butcher’s Arms, Hepworth, was slugging it out on the telly with Stephanie Moon and Andrew Pern in the Great British Menu (in which Pern came out the winner), and last night he picked up the Craft Guild of Chef’s Award for Best Pub Restaurant Chef. Congratulations, Tim.

No other Yorkshire winners but Lisa Allen of the estimable Northcote Manor near Blackburn picked up Restaurant Chef Award  and Tom Park also from Northcote won Young Chef. The top award of the night went to Phillip Howard from the two Michelin-starred The Square in Mayfair.

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