I remember many, and some stand out so well – for either being amazingly good or shockingly bad. CHEFStable at TRUEfoods falls clearly into the first category; an incredible, innovative dinner 10-course tasting menu.
Its base is an industrial park near Ripon and home to TRUEfoods, founded by chef and innovator Mitch Mitchell, manufacturing and supplying the catering industry and many top-end restaurants and hotels with high-quality, freshly-made meat stocks.
In 2017, I reviewed CHEFStable, then a twice-monthly chef’s table for just six diners set up by Mitch and his talented team. “CHEFStable was born from the desire to create culinary experiences and push innovation in everything we do, and truth be told, we missed cooking for an audience,” he says.
Three years later, it is the hottest ticket in town, and you will be hard pushed to get a seat at this table (and not because of Covid). Having expanded to three nights a week, every week, CHEFStable is booked solid months in advance.
What was the first dish you cooked? The very first food item I prepared and cooked was Dover sole. The process of skinning, cleaning and preparing the fish to be grilled simply with butter, seasoning, and served with lemon had me hooked.
Where or who do you get your culinary inspiration from? Chef Thomas Keller. It’s still odd to say he is one of my best friends and business partners in the United States.
What was your first cookery book? Le Répertoire de la Cuisine, by Louis Saulnier.
Who would be your 3 dream dinner guests? Golf being a passion of mine, I’d have to have a seat for Greg Norman at the table; he gave me golf lessons some years ago – and I could do with a few more now. And Ant & Dec too (they come as a package) because these Geordie lads have the best jobs in TV and would be entertaining around a dinner table… can you imagine the fun stories? Lastly John Legend, the singer-songwriter, who’s such a cool dude, great voice, pianist, I’m pretty confident this blend of guests would have a cracking night of fun, music, and laughter – ingredients we all need right now.
What is your guilty food pleasure? Scotch pie. An old school classic mutton pie, sadly it’s a rarity to find them today, even in glorious Yorkshire.
What is your favourite tool or gadget in the kitchen? A nine-inch chopping knife, it’s the handle’s feel and balance; you know it belongs to you the moment you pick it up.
What have you done during lockdown, and what are your plans for CHEFStable going forward? We have stayed very active with work, strategising for the future of TRUEfoods, as well as CHEFSStable. We have adapted well into new sectors, gaining new customers; even through the first lockdown, we continued to invest in new equipment to make us more efficient for the future. We are in the process also of redesigning all our packaging. There are some fascinating things in the pipeline. The team has gone above and beyond with Covid-19 procedures for every team member and our guests. I can’t stress enough how truly blessed I am to work with such a talented team and a group of individuals who mix so well collectively and that together we have created something quite extraordinary.