Bruce and Rebecca Elsworth, at Elsworth Kitchen in Skipton, were getting their feet firmly on the ground and growing in both popularity and reputation when lockdown was called.
Bruce is well known for his years as chef director at the Angel at Hetton, and between him and Rebecca, they have over 30 years in the business which has hopefully helped them weather what lay ahead for them on that fateful day in March.
The two-storey café-restaurant is incredibly versatile with a menu taking you from breakfast to brunch, coffee to amazing cakes and a full-blown lunch, and on Friday and Saturday night Bruce’s talents shine with his dinner menu.
It is wonderful to see they have made it through, though I am sure like everyone is wondering what the future might bring. I wish them well; they so deserve to succeed.
What was the first dish you remember cooking? I was baking at a young age with my mum. The first thing I remember is perfecting the art of a Victoria sandwich and jam tarts so I could enter them in local shows.
Who is your culinary inspiration? Marco Pierre White, because he was the most exciting and controversial chef cooking inspirational food when I was a young chef. He created many dishes that are still emulated today.
Do you have a favourite cookbook? White Heat by Marco Pierre White and Keep it Simple by Alastair Little.
Who are your three dream dinner guests? Sir Sebastian Coe to talk about his epic track career and London’s 2012 Olympic journey. Lucas Radebe, the Leeds United Legend, on Leeds finally being back where they belong, and Keith Floyd for his amazing food knowledge and love of wine.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure? I love good-tasting pies and pasties, especially my mum’s meat and potato pie.
What is your favourite ingredient? Mushrooms because there are so many different varieties offering unique tastes and textures, making them so versatile in many different dishes.
What did you do during the lockdown, and what are your plans for Elsworth Kitchen in the future? Through lockdown, we offered a contact-free ready meal delivery service every Friday plus the Elsworth Meat and Cheese Platter and a picnic box. They all worked so well we are carrying on with them.
As we are a young independent business, we had to look at new ideas and resources to guarantee a revenue stream. Thankfully, we were able to keep contact and provide a service for many of our customers, while gaining new customers along the way. Keeping that contact was hard work as it was just our little girl and us, as all other staff were furloughed.
Customers told how they were getting dressed up for their meal and making it a special occasion, and even catching up with other customers on Zoom, so they felt like they were “out”. The cafe is open again, as is our Friday evening set menu from 6-8pm.
We have added a grab-and-go fridge full of wraps, salad, pasta, homemade sausage rolls, fruit pots, granola pots and much more. This service is available on Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm.
Just now, we are looking towards Christmas by adapting our services for the festive season; Christmas and Boxing day food boxes, ready meals, party catering, and a Dine-in Christmas set menu for parties up to six people are a few of our thoughts.
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