With three such culinary whizzes at the stove, I wanted great things. So, did I find it at True Foods Chefs Table?
After so many years involved in food writing, there aren’t that many dining experiences that have not crossed my path. After all, there are only so many ways to present a restaurant surely. This week’s review was a first for me and, hilariously, I only realised I had no preconception, understanding or expectation of what lay ahead as I headed up to a food production unit for dinner.
Barker Park, near Melmerby, is full of industrial units and at its heart is the aforementioned True Foods. The food production unit supplies the catering industry with, amongst other things) high quality, freshly made meat stocks
Founder and innovator Mitch Mitchell started making authentic stocks on a tiny scale ten years ago and employed the premise of using only true culinary principles in their production. So good were these that the company now turns over £10 million. Plus, the products are in a staggering number of top restaurants and hotels.
However, I digress.
A few months ago Mitch and his small but hugely talented team in the development kitchen started a twice-monthly to host a pop-up restaurant in the development kitchen and True Foods Chefs Table was born. They also only offer this experience for just six diners a time. I asked Mitch, why when you have a hugely successful business to run are you donning chef whites and heading to the stove at the end of a busy day? Well, it seems they all miss the buzz of cooking for an audience.
We are seated around the stove of a super-smart with a very slick demo kitchen which once belonged to Claude Bosi. Any nervousness at being so few at the table quickly dissipates with the warmth of the welcome. There is no waiting staff, the three chefs – Mitch, head of development Aled Williams and Hugh Carruthers, assisted by Karina Kusca, take on all roles this evening. They handle the cooking, waiting on, pouring wine, water and even washing up.
There are eight courses on the Tasting Menu, and chefs take turn cooking with assistance from the others. Nothing is hidden, with everything carefully and diligently explained. They tell us about the ingredients, the cooking, the technology and the mind-blowing toys these guys play with.
First of all, there comes an array of snacks of tiny tacos with prawns, salsa and Mexican marigold (Tagetes if you are a gardener). A Paella came as a lollipop of freeze-dried saffron infused chicken stock, Pancetta and marshmallow. Bread came with Yorkshire Goats butter, duck liver fat, and the surprise of the evening (for me) READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE