Flavour & Savour | 9th October 2023
Matt Tebbutt's PoB Break: Inspired by Food & Provenance
Words by Karyn Noble
Approaching Lancashire’s Ribble Valley on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, there’s no denying why this peaceful part of the UK was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Lancashire’s impressive stately homes, castles and extraordinary gardens have already caught the eye of chef and TV presenter Matt Tebbutt, who begins his four-night ‘Food & Provenance’ PoB Break by arriving at Northcote, a luxurious hotel tucked right in the verdant hills and famed for its Michelin-starred restaurant.
“There’s something very special about a great drive through the rolling British countryside and arriving to a beautiful country house,” says Matt. “I love this part of the UK because it feels much calmer than down south and everyone seems to have more time to stop and chat.” Matt has a little time to enjoy the warm Northern hospitality as he unwinds in the bar, where cocktails are expertly prepared with herbs, garnishes and seasonal fruits foraged from Northcote’s organic kitchen garden. His dinner is carefully overseen by Executive Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, one of the UK’s most innovative talents, who joined the restaurant in 2001. On the menu is a 5-course celebration of seasonal delights that showcase the region, paired with award-winning wines. Matt enthuses over the textures and flavours from start to finish, from the pressed Yorkshire chicken with sweet elderflower, gooseberry and crispy chicken brioche right through to the Northcote cheeseboard. “Great food is a joy, especially when it reflects where you are in the country,” says Matt.
Matt’s breakfast is cooked to order the following morning (“I love a full fry-up sometimes”), including local Bowland free-range eggs and Waterford farm home-cured middle bacon, before it’s time for a leisurely drive further north, up through Yorkshire Dales National Park to his next PoB Break destination: Yorebridge House.
This beautiful Grade-II-listed building set in six acres of private grounds was once a schoolmaster’s house and has been sensitively renovated, with each of the 12 stylish, individually designed bedrooms an ode to a particular destination, dotted with antiques sourced from around the world. With time before dinner, and given he’s in the heart of Wensleydale, Matt is keen to investigate the local cheese scene. “I love visiting local delis and shops to see what the area has to offer,” says Matt. “I’m naturally quite greedy so never miss an opportunity to stock up on goodies.” Once satisfied with souvenir snack shopping, Matt’s dinner at Yorebridge House is enjoyed looking out from the three AA Rosette restaurant’s large French windows towards the gardens, which is where Head Chef Dan Shotton sources some of the menu produce, with the remainder from suppliers within a 30-mile radius.
There is a choice of two tasting menus, and Matt has an appreciative eye for the local produce, such as Yorkshire venison with butternut squash and blackberry, and the Wensleydale lamb with turnip and braised shoulder.
The next morning starts with a light buffet breakfast, where the Yorebridge’s locally smoked kippers are a highlight. “I love kippers,” says Matt. “Food has always been a huge part of a holiday for me….it was the same when I was a kid. It’s the main thread of a trip away; sitting over breakfast deciding where I’m going to have lunch and making sure the time is right so not to spoil dinner.”
Traversing back through the Yorkshire Dales up into the serene and picturesque Lake District, Matt’s next gourmet destination is the idyllic Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, two separate locations, with the hotel set across 21 acres and the Lake House just a mile away from it and spanning 100 acres with its own private lake.
There is a choice of restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide: Gilpin Spice (listed since 2018) and SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel (awarded one Michelin star in 2023). It’s also the perfect place to unwind, with a lot of the rooms featuring their own hot tubs, and spa treatments being very popular.
“I love a bit of spoiling,” says Matt, “And there’s something very special about getting dressed for dinner and that first G&T in a stunning location.” SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel has benefited from the arrival of new chef Ollie Bridgwater in 2023, who previously worked for Heston Blumenthal for almost a decade, including at The Fat Duck. Matt gets to see just why they renamed the restaurant SOURCE, given the heady focus on the Lake District’s produce and Ollie’s dedication to create the most sustainable and ethical dishes, working with their in-house butcher and local farmers on a real nose-to-tail gourmet experience. Matt’s much anticipated ‘gin and tonic’ turns out to be an amuse-bouche on SOURCE’s tasting menu; it’s cleverly housed within a cucumber jelly bubble sitting on a spoon that bursts in the mouth.
Matt’s breakfast the following morning is cooked to order and features locally smoked salmon from the Cartmel Valley and Cumbrian ham. “I try and get some healthy fruit and yoghurt in there somewhere,” says Matt, when asked about his ideal breakfast, as he brandishes a bowl of natural yoghurt from Longley Organic Farm with seasonal berries.
With a farewell from Gilpin Hotel’s alpacas, it’s time to skirt around the edges of Yorkshire Dales again and head to Matt’s final destination on his PoB Break: the sublime Grantley Hall near Ripon. Matt has previously featured recipes from its most acclaimed chef when presenting BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, and sits down to a 10-course tasting menu at Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, a Michelin-starred fine-dining destination and one of five restaurants located in the astounding hotel and wellness retreat. “There are so many fantastic places to eat in the UK now, so much outside all the major cities to explore,” says Matt.
A former 17th-century Palladian mansion, the Grade-II-listed Grantley Hall, with its kitchen garden and English heritage-listed Japanese garden dating back to 1910 offers a superb backdrop to showcase Yorkshire chef Shaun Rankin’s ‘Taste of Home’ menu. It's a fitting end to Matt’s trip, which has encapsulated the best of England’s north, seamlessly blending luxurious relaxation, innovative dining and extraordinary local ingredients. And Matt is keen to return. “Go north and you’ll never go far wrong,” he says. “And nothing is too far away, we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.”