To be honest, I had never given carrots too much thought. That was, until I met Paul Leonard, the new head chef of the acclaimed Burlington Restaurant at the Devonshire Arms Hotel.
As he proudly showed me around his kitchen garden, his love for all things organic and home grown shone through. For this isn’t just any kitchen garden, this is the pride and joy of a man who is as enthusiastic about growing his own veg, fruit and herbs as he is about creating exciting and innovative award-winning dishes.
His passionate account of the carrot and its journey from seed to plate, certainly inspired a respect for the humble carrot that I had never even considered before. Paul recently joined the team at the Devonshire, after a career that has seen him working at some of the country’s top restaurants and hotels.
His return to Yorkshire, where he grew up, follows a two year stint as head chef at Isle of Eriska, the Michelin-starred Scottish hotel.
Delighted to be back home and working at the ‘The Dev’, as he affectionately calls it, his energetic ambition to make The Burlington one of the best restaurants in the county is refreshingly honest.
Determined to use home grown, seasonal ingredients, and local produce, Paul is inspired by his surroundings and like a true artist he is constantly creating new formulas using the plate as a canvas to project his original ideas. Sitting down to sample Paul’s new tasting menu was a real honour and having seen first-hand the garden where his produce comes from, made the experience all the more enjoyable. Paul in the Devonshire kitchen garden The beetroot macaroon canapé exploded with flavour, quite the most delicious canapé I have ever tasted and accompanied by a glass of champagne, I knew this was the start of an incredible culinary journey.
Salt baked beetroot with caviar, garden radish and nasturtium provided a sample of the gardens autumn crop and John Dory, landed from the East Coast, served with artichoke and sea herbs, sent the taste buds into overdrive.
A meltingly tender, herb fed, chicken breast, followed, served with onions and kale and home-grown greengage with a cucumber crème fraiche prepared the palate for the luscious dessert of garden apples, Yorkshire Skyr and blueberries. Each exquisite, delicately portioned dish was paired with an impeccably selected wine, by the knowledgeable sommelier, Spencer Brown.
Aside from Paul’s culinary skills, he has transformed the kitchen, engendering a sympathetic work ethos for his team of sous chefs, motivating and encouraging new young talent.
Located in the stunning surroundings of the Yorkshire Dales, the Devonshire Arms is undoubtedly one of the North’s finest country house hotels and The Burlington Restaurant has already been awarded 3 AA rosettes. Now, with Paul at the helm, they aspire to achieve more accolades and with his talent, enthusiasm and passion, I’m sure it won’t be long before they start coming.
Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
T: 01756 718111