Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Middletons Hotel, York

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 29 April 2019

Pan seared scallops, Yorkshire chorizo, asparagus spears, lemon buerre blanc

Pan seared scallops, Yorkshire chorizo, asparagus spears, lemon buerre blanc

Andy Bulmer

An ambitious young chef wowed the guests at the latest Yorkshire Life lunch, held at Middletons Hotel in York

Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. Richard Hudson had been in his new role of head chef for just a few days when he was faced with the prospect of delivering a mouth-watering three-course menu to representatives of some of the best known businesses in Yorkshire.

He had every reason to be apprehensive as businesswomen from and all over the county, including estate agents, hoteliers and company owners, gathered together in the light-filled conservatory restaurant for Yorkshire Life Women in Business lunch at Middletons Hotel in York.

Yet this ambitious young chef, who is aiming for his first rosette, confidently demonstrated his creative flair with county-biased ingredients and some interesting touches to his well considered choice of light dishes.

Richard's promotion from sous chef to main man is one of many changes taking place at this hidden gem of a hotel, right in the heart of the city. With its mature gardens and historic listed buildings, Middletons should be on every tourist's itinerary, yet its quiet location in the less-travelled Skeldergate means it is easy to overlook. Set back from the road and discreetly understated, many people walk past unaware that they are missing out on this beautiful collection of Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings.

Head chef Richard Hudson and Connor GageHead chef Richard Hudson and Connor Gage

All that is set to change now the House of Daniel Thwaites, the Lancashire-based pub chain, has taken the reins from the Clark family who lovingly pulled it from the brink of ruin through extensive restoration and development, before selling it in 2017 after 40 years in the business. Now the 56 bedrooms, spread across six beautiful buildings, are being gradually updated under the watchful eye of Adam Wardale who became general manager last year. April marks the final stages of the first phase – the £1 million refurbishment of 18 bedrooms – which has given the old Alms Cottages and Cromwell House rooms a modern new look inspired by the hotel's industrial past.

'Middletons Hotel has bags of personality and our in-house design team have gone to great lengths to explore the history of each building within the hotel and come up with a design concept which tells the story,' he says. 'The 19th century Cromwell House was originally a sawmill complex so each guest room features a unique piece of handcrafted furniture, while the Grade II listed almshouses, funded by public subscription in memory of Sir Joseph Terry, incorporate a secret space for a Terry's Chocolate Orange to be found by guests.'

There wasn't a chocolate orange in sight, however, when guests were greeted by very attentive and welcoming staff offering platters of delicious canapés and an aperitif of winemaker Caroline Latrive's Brut Majeur champagne. Between them these mouthwatering morsals and fruity champagne flavours stimulated the taste buds in readiness for a meal celebrating classic British food with a modern twist.

Cathy Swift, regional sales manager for wine importer Mentzendorff & Co, launched the event with a brief resume of the champagne's history before introducing a Langlois-Chateau Domaine Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2015, from the Loire Valley. The rich honey and spicy nut flavours perfectly complemented the starter of juicy pan seared scallops, Yorkshire chorizo chips, asparagus spears and lemon beurre blanc.

Middletons Hotel and RestaurantMiddletons Hotel and Restaurant

Next came pan roasted garlic and rosemary rack of lamb – perfectly pink –with sautéed baby potatoes, caramelized onion puree and red wine jus. It would have benefitted from a small side of seasonal vegetables, but the flavours were well married with a South African Anwika 'Petit Frere' 2014 from Stellenbosch, with aromas of roasted spice and dark fruit.

To round off the Yorkshire fayre, Richard delivered home made mini Yorkshire pikelets served with poached rhubarb, Middletons rhubarb jam and clotted cream. This was served with Ceretto Moscato D'Asti 2017 from Piedmont in Italy – a moreish blend of 'sweet melons, orange blossoms, jasmine, and honeysuckle', although there was definitely a hint of rhubarb in the mix. As a low alcohol, not too sweet accompaniment to the final course it was the perfect way to round off the meal before coffee and homemade petit fours. And there it was – the piece de resistance! Hand made chocolate orange fudge which melted in the mouth and was completely divine. A perfect nod to the wonderful history of Middletons Hotel. 

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