Frances Atkins

Episode: Ten

Co-owner of The Yorke Arms, Frances Atkins is one of only six female Michelin-starred chefs in the UK, having held one Michelin star continuously since 2003. Francis uses the location of The Yorke Arms nestled in The Yorkshire Dales to make full use of the fresh, seasonal, organic, local produce throughout her menu.

The first woman to get a job in the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Box Tree restaurant in her home town at just 17, Frances has ‘always cooked’ from baking with her mother to throwing dinner parties. After a brief spell in kitchens in Scotland she moved to La Glace, the oldest confectioner in Denmark. Getting married at 23 put her cooking career on a 10 year hiatus before she returned to the stove.

Frances’ tenacity and determination has seen her open several restaurants over her long career – always on an upward trajectory. When she saw The Yorke Arms – with its mix of history, character and stunning location – she knew she had found her permanent home. It was in Yorkshire’s outstandingly beautiful Nidderdale valley, in the tiny hamlet of Ramsgill, that Frances won her first Michelin star. She sees this award as ‘recognition of an all-consuming dedicated way of life’. The food Frances cooks is shaped by her surroundings, the produce she harvests from her almost self-sufficient kitchen garden, wild foods and the produce and livestock on the adjacent hillsides.

Frances Atkins’s Wine Choice

There’s a story that the best soils in Pouilly-Fuisse are enriched by the long-dead carcasses of animals driven off the crags above by stone-age hunters. I prefer to think that the honeysuckle aroma and sweet lemon fruit comes from the natural sun-trap vineyards. 2014 was one of the great modern years for white Burgundy. I’d have this with cooked shellfish or herby roasted chicken.

Frances’s Recipe: Lacquered English veal, lobster, strawberry & cabbage cake

Serves: Four

For the veal:
  • 500g Veal Shin
  • ½ Onion
  • ½ Carrot
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 20g Lemon Thyme
  • 1 Sprig Rosemary
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 200ml White Wine
  • 200g Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400ml Veal Stock
  • 2 Violet Artichokes
  • 4 Dessert Spoon Sweet Sherry
  • 4 Teaspoons Tamarind
  • 50g Veal Stock
  • 50g Water
For the cabbage and strawberry cake:
  • 1 Med size 500g Hispi Pointed Cabbage
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 120g Sour Dough Crumb (whizzed together to form a green crumb)
  • 15g Parsley (whizzed together to form a green crumb)
  • 10g Tarragon (whizzed together to form a green crumb)
  • 4 Large Strawberries
  • 50g Goats Curd
  • 30g Beaton Egg
  • Pinch of Chilli Powder
  • ½ Nutmeg
  • 10g Honey (mixed together)
  • 5g Cider Vinegar (mixed together)
For the English lobster:
  • 1 ½ llb Chix English Lobster
  • 6ltrs Water
  • 60g Sea Salt
  • 250g Unsalted Butter
  • 60g Coral
  • 15g lemon thyme
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Fennel
  • 1 Garlic
  • 1 Celery Stick
For the fresh turmeric aioli:
  • 8g Garlic
  • 50g White Wine
  • 3g Sea Salt
  • 20g Mustard
  • 15g Fresh Turmeric
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 100G Vegetable Oil
  • 50g Extra Virgin Oil or 150g Pomace Oil
For the smoked tomato branade:
  • 160g Smoked Potato Puree
  • 5g Salt
  • 65g Tomato Petals
  • 260g Tomato Water
  • 5g Basil
  • 30g Olive Oil
        • 1. Brown off veal, place onto chopped vegetables with herbs, deglaze the pan with white wine and chopped tomatoes. Place in oven at 175◦ for 1 hour.
        • 2. When cool, remove meat from the bone and strain off stock. Refrigerate.
        • 3. Remove top of artichoke with a knife pare down the side to the stalk with peeler. Rub with lemon cover with acidulated water thyme, salt and cling film. Bring to boil remove from heat and stand until cool.
        • 4. Place these ingredients – 1 Cooked Veal Shin; 4 Dessert Spoon Sweet Sherry; 4 Teaspoons Tamarind; 50g Veal Stock; 50g Water – in a pan at 200◦c in oven to glaze from approximately 8 minutes.
For the cabbage and strawberry cake
        • 1. Season and oil whole cabbage and place in oven to roast for 45 minutes on 200◦. Remove from oven and take off outer burnt leaves.
        • 2. Chop up centre of cooked cabbage it will have a slight crunch season with black pepper, add goats curd and green crumb. Mix in egg, sea salt season with chilli powder to taste and nutmeg. Place in a lined ring measuring 120cm for 25 minutes at 160◦c.
        • 3. Remove from oven. Slice strawberries and place in honey and vinegar and arrange on top of cake. Place back in oven for 4 minutes to soften and glaze strawberry top.
        • 4. Slice the cabbage and strawberry cake. Place the aioli on the plate. Place the brandade with the lobster on top. Place the veal on the plate with the artichoke on top. Decorate with nasturtium.
For the English lobster
        • 1.Place lobster in boiling water with salt for 6 minutes. Remove and cool. Split and crack and save coral to one side remove meat and make stock with: 15g lemon thyme; 1 Onion; 1 Fennel; 1 Garlic; 1 Celery Stick. Place lobster meat in fridge.
        • 2. Place in food processor unsalted butter with the coral and blend and roll in cling film place in fridge.
        • 3. Prepare the fresh Turmeric aioli (to garnish the plate); blitz together by feeding in oil to an emulsion and place in piping bag.
For the smoked tomato branade
        • 1. Reduce the tomato water.
        • 2. Finely chop tomato petals and basil.
        • 3. Mix together with the smoked potato puree and oil.
        • 4. Melt the coral butter in a pan and toss the cooked lobster in it.