Yorkshire Life Lunch Churchill's at the Rock Hotel, Holywell Green, Halifax

PUBLISHED: 17:09 22 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:36 20 February 2013

Head chef Ben Varley and sous chef Adam Rasburn

Head chef Ben Varley and sous chef Adam Rasburn

Fine food with an extra course of entertainment was enjoyed by all at a restaurant which is changing its style Photographs by Andy Bulmer

It was with obvious happiness that Lester Marshall managed to persuade his son Lee not to make a new life abroad. And it was also the good fortune of the many people who enjoy fine food and entertainment at the Design House Restaurant, Dean Clough, Halifax and at The Rock Hotel, Holywell Green, near Halifax.

Lee Marshall is head chef and owner of the Design House Restaurant and co-owns the The Rock Hotel with his father. This months Yorkshire Life lunch was at The Rock, in Churchills restaurant where the head chef Ben Varley, mentored by Lee, prepared a delicious and imaginative lunch for our guests.

And as we took our seats after pre-lunch drinks to the lilting music of the Trio Novo, Lester said how much the family delighted in Lees success. I am just glad we managed to persuade him to stay in this country and we are able to support him and work with him.

The Rock Hotel and the Churchill Restaurant, which seats 55 guests, also come under the watchful eye of general manager Adrian Hird whose attention to detail ensures guests always get the most from their visit.

But the kitchen is Ben Varleys territory where he has a small team of talented young chefs who, he says, can turn their hand to almost everything. I want them to be able to work in any area I dont want to box them in, he says. Ben is Halifax born and this is his first position as head chef after 11 years in the food and hospitality industry spent mostly in North Yorkshire.

I have been at The Rock for two years and head chef for 15 months. Lee is a great inspiration to me and the sole reason I am here, says Ben.
His aim, he adds, is to show people that things have changed in the restaurant. The Rock is known as a terrific wedding venue but I want to broaden the appeal so people will think of us as a place to call in for good food at any time and not just for a special occasion.

Ben appreciates seasonal food especially the game, root vegetables and berries that come with autumn. They have such powerful flavours, maturity and depth.

His aim he says is to offer good honest food and adds: Food should be about fun. Food shouldnt be intimidating; no one should feel awkward when they go out for a meal. All I want to produce is good honest food using the best ingredients.

In addition to the fabulous food on the day there was an opportunity to try laser clay shooting outside organised by Robert Ellams, Class Laser Clays.

The Design House Restaurant and Churchills offer a VIP dining card which can give handsome discounts to regular diners.

The Rock Hotel & Churchills Restaurant, Holywell Green, Halifax
HX4 9BS. 01422 379721

Gerrard Seel Wine Merchants
Warrington, Cheshire. 01925 819695



Ham and root vegetable terrine, soft boiled egg, white truffle hollandaise, crisp Parma ham, mustard cress

Oven roasted sea bass, Mediterranean vegatable jelly, grilled courgette, olives,
red pepper, herb salad, balsamic and olive oil

Chilled cucumber soup

Chicken marinated in lemongrass and chervil, crab and noodle salad, sweetcorn and crab beignet, pink ginger and spring onion salsa

Rhubarb and custard

Coffee and handmade chocolates

Wine notes

Wines supplied by Murray Leach of Gerrard Seel Wines

Astoria Lounge cold 9.5 Prosecco An Italian award-winning low alcohol wine. An elegant, light, fruity refreshing welcoming drink served on arrival at the lunch.

Costieres de Nimes Blanc Cuvee Tradition Mas Carlot 2009 A blend of Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier from the western edge of the River Rhne. Fresh and fruity with a touch of minerailty from a region recognised for its excellent value wine. Considered a good alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Served with the starter course.

Beaujolais Villages, Chateau Tour Goyon 2007 Grown in the northern part of the Beaujolais this delicious and very attractive cherry coloured wine has a bouquet of red and black fruits with a silky palate and a delightful balancing acidity to refresh. In the region it is usually served cool to enhance the refreshing nature of the wine and its great as a partner to chicken which was served as the main course at lunch.

Chateau Fleur des Pins, Graves Superieures Bordeaux 2005 A luscious and full flavoured dessert wine packed with soft ripe fruit flavours and has a wonderful sweetness that makes it the perfect partner to a wide range of desserts or simply as an aperitif.

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