Yorkshire's Michelin stars: A history

Yorkshire has five Michelin starred restaurants in the 2020 Michelin guide, but just how many has the county held. Catherine Scott reports

Michelin Stars originated in a country best known for its passion for cuisine – France.

Originally they were a feature of the Michelin guide books published in 1900 by Andre and Edourd Michelin - the founders of the Michelin tyre company.

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As the business grew, so did the guide, becoming so popular that a charge was introduced in 1920.

Yorke Arms, Ramsgill

By then, the dining element was in such high demand that Michelin decided to set up a team of inspectors whose job it was to visit – anonymously - and rate restaurants on a 3-category basis.

It was extended to Great Britain and Ireland in 1973 and only 13 Yorkshire restaurants have ever been awarded the coveted stars since then.

The only Yorkshire restaurant in the first Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland was the Box Tree, Ilkley and it is the only establishment in the county to have ever held two stars

The restaurant opened originally as a tearoom in 1962, by Colin Reid and Malcolm Long and went on to become one of the first four British restaurants to win two stars in 1977 which it retained until 1986, under head chef Michael Lawson. It lost one star in 1987 and then was stripped of its second in 1992.

Pool Court

After losing both stars, it regained one star between 1996 and 2002. It lost its star again in 2003 to have it reinstated two years later after Simon and Rena Gueller took over. Having held the Michelin star for 14 years the Box Tree once again lost it in the 2019 guide. Earlier this year the Geullers announced their intentions to sell.

Before moving to the Box Tree Simon Geuller had worked at another Yorkshire restaurant to gain a Michelin star.

Rascasse was the fourth Yorkshire restaurant to gain the accolade holding one star from 1997 to 2000 and the biggest restaurant outside of London to hold a Michelin star. When Gueller left he set up his own eponymous restaurant in his home city which gained a Michelin star in 2002.

Yorkshire had to wait 14 years after the Box Tree got its first star before gaining its second Michelin starred establishment when in 1987 Pool Court in Pool in Wharfedale was awarded the accolade. When it moved to Leeds and became Poole Court at 42, The Calls the star followed which it held until it closed in 2006

The Black Swan Oldstead

In 1999 history was once again made when Tessa Bramley became Yorkshire’s first female chef to be awarded a Michelin star at the Old Vicarage in Sheffield. She held the start until 2015.

By then she had been joined by Frances Atkins from the Yorke Arms at Ramsgill in the elite club which included just a handful of Michelin-starred women. Atkins held the star for 16 years but lost it in the 2020 guide announced last week.

By 2000 the new wave of Michelin starred establishments was on the rise. In 2002 The Star Inn at Harome was only the second pub in the UK to be awarded a Michelin star which under chef patron Andrew Pern it held for nine years before, in the 2011 guide, surprisingly being stripped of its star. It took four years for Pern to win back the star which he has now held for a further six years.

Gueller in Leeds

The Burlington at the Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey is another restaurant which has gained and lost stars on numerous occasions. First being awarded on in 2003 until 2007, losing it for two years before holding it for another four - eventually losing it in 2013.

In 2010 a pub in the small village of South Dalton got East Yorkshire its first Michelin star. James Mackenzie and his wife Kate had taken over the village pub four years earlier. This year the Pipe and Glass retained its Michelin star for the 11th year running.

In 2012 The Black Swan at Oldstead joined the club under then head chef Adam Jackson. When Jackson left a young Tommy Banks took over the reigns of the family pub and when it retained its star in 2013 it made Tommy the UK’s youngest Michelin starred chef

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Having lost all its stars years earlier, in 2016 Leeds was once again on the Michelin culinary map when Michael O’Hare’s Man Behind the Curtain was recognised with a star which it has kept ever since.

This year there was a new star on the block when once iconic gastropub The Angel at Hetton was awarded a Michelin star by veteran Michelin starred chef Michael Wignall who has plans to add more stars with the addition of a fine-dining restaurant in the near future.

Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds

Yorkshire’s Michelin stars

Box Tree, Ilkley - 1973-1991, 1996-2002, 2005-2018 (2* 1977-1986)

Pool Court, Poole in Wharfedale 1987-2001

Pool Court at 42, the Calls, Leeds 1996-2006

Rascasse, Leeds 1997-2000

Old Vicarage, Sheffield 1999-2015

Star Inn, Harome 2002-2010, 2015-2020

Geuller, Leeds 2002

The Burlington at the Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey 2003-2007, 2009-2013

Yorke Arms, Ramsgill 2003-2019

Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton 2010-2020

Black Swan, Oldstead - 2012-2020

Man Behind the Curtain 2016-2020

The Angel, Hetton 2020

(Taken from Michelin Guide Star History 2020-1974 )

The Burlington at the Devonshire Arms
The Angel, Hetton
The Star Inn, Harome
Box Tree, Ilkley
The Old Vicaracge, Sheffield