Yorkshire Life Luncheon -The Grand, York

PUBLISHED: 00:00 21 May 2015 | UPDATED: 19:56 02 November 2015

Yorkshire Life Luncheon -The Grand, York

Yorkshire Life Luncheon -The Grand, York


Our guests enjoy a first class meal at Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel.

Words by Jo Haywood

Yorkshire Life Lunch Grand Hotel & Spa, York
Craig Aitchinson, (right) head chef and his kitchen team.Yorkshire Life Lunch Grand Hotel & Spa, York Craig Aitchinson, (right) head chef and his kitchen team.

The Grand more than lives up to its name. This beautiful five-star hotel has transformed what was an underwhelming corner of York, creating a luxurious haven for visitors from around the world and an unforgettable dining experience for locals.

And, five years on from its opening, the building’s metamorphosis continues apace, with plans recently lodged with the council for a generous expansion that will double the room capacity and add an extensive orangery to the current outdoor terrace.

‘There are exciting things happening here at The Grand,’ said general manager Maria Florou. ‘We were taken over in August last year by the Splendid Hospitality Group, which now owns 15 properties in the UK, with a further five in development (including the forthcoming Indigo in York). ‘We’ve been going through a £250,000 rebranding process ever since (changing from The Cedar Court Grand to The Grand) and will be changing the exterior signage any day now.’

But that’s by no means the end of the story: ‘The company will be investing £15 million in the next few years to secure our place as one of the very best five-star hotels in the UK.’

To help them achieve their goal – and to encourage more people to make The Grand their destination of choice for a midweek meal as well as for more formal celebratory occasions – the hotel welcomed Craig Atchinson as its new head chef late last year.

He joined the York team from The Talbot in Malton, where he worked with celebrity chef (and Malton lad) James Martin. Before that, his impressive CV included a Michelin ‘rising star’, three rosettes as senior sous chef at Cotswold House in Gloucestershire, and three AA rosettes at Swinton Park.

‘It’s a fantastic challenge to be head chef at The Grand,’ he said at the time of his appointment. ‘The hotel has an enviable reputation for its high level of quality throughout, from the welcome to the facilities, so I know what’s expected of me and my team.’

So, did he deliver on the day of our lunch? You bet he did.

Our guests were treated to an incredibly elegant first course of perfectly-smoked ocean trout and pleasantly piquant greens topped with wafer-thin rye bread crisps.

Next came a delicious duet of Waterford Farm pork, combining melting fillet with caramelised belly to create a truly harmonious plate that was a pleasure to eat.

Then came the pudding – and what a pudding it was. This heavenly chocolate-hazelnut delight showed real skill and wit, making playful – but affectionate – fun of that dinner party standby Ferrero Rocher with a cricket ball-sized version that cracked seductively to reveal an oozing centre that elicited a wave of satisfied sighs around the room.

To intentionally misquote the original 1990s’ advert: ‘Craig, with these ginormous Rocher, you really spoiled us.’ w

The Grand, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GD 01904 380038 thegrandyork.co.uk

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