Foraging for ingredients and inspiration

Sam at work in The Terrace Restaurant & Bar
Sam at work in The Terrace Restaurant & Bar
Promoted by Swinton Estate

From working in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, to his love of cheese on toast we catch up with the newest head chef at the Swinton Estate.

York-born chef Sam Miller has worked in some of the best restaurants across the globe.

Chef Sam Miller

Chef Sam Miller

Now he has returned to his Yorkshire roots as head chef of Swinton Estates Country Club & Spa’s Terrace, in Masham and can’t wait to combine his global influences with the estate’s stunning produce.

“It feels great to be part of the team at one of Yorkshire’s finest hotel estates,” says Sam, who was previously a Young Chef of the Year finalist.

“I’m very excited by what can be achieved here.”

Sam has culinary experience in some of the best international restaurants – including former world number one Noma in Copenhagen which still holds two Michelin stars.

He has also held senior positions at the two Michelin-starred Faviken in Sweden and Mugaritz in Spain.

“I have worked in kitchens all over the world, including Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Australia, it’s been a varied and exciting journey since I started cooking in York as a 16-year-old,” says Sam.

As he heads up the team in the Terrace kitchen, Sam is hoping to bring that journey full circle.

His globally-inspired dishes will showcase local produce taken from the extensive walled garden and surrounding 20,000-acre Swinton Estate.

The thing he is looking forward to most? Building an exciting menu.

“The Terrace has now been open for a year and we have gathered feedback from our customers to build a menu that you can’t find anywhere else in Yorkshire.

“Our menu is defined by the fruit, herbs and vegetables grown close by or within the garden, offering nourishing, flavoursome and classic dishes.”

Sam says “local produce is ‘very important’ to not just the restaurant but the Estate as a whole. The seasons drive the menu here at The Terrace, we use the finest Yorkshire ingredients to create inspiring, simple and tasty food. Food plays a prominent and integral role at Swinton– from the grass roots commitment to minimising food miles, to the impressive walled kitchen garden.

“Our chefs and front of house staff work incredibly hard to deliver our Estate to Plate concept, which lies at the heart of our menus. All of us get involved; whether that is at the point it’s foraged, sourced or picked directly provenance important and is highlighted to customers at the point of service.” The Chefs can be seen every morning taking ingredients and inspiration from the Estate, all guests are encouraged to join in and ask any questions.”

With so much amazing produce on offer, it is unsurprising that Sam can’t pick a favourite ingredient.

“I enjoy all aspects of the kitchen,” he says.

“The variety of what The Terrace’s four-acre walled garden has to offer is truly amazing, it is this variety and access to fresh produce that I find interesting.”

Sam is also keen to encourage everyone to consider using more local produce in their own cooking – whatever their abilities.

“Shop local, buy from local farmers and farm shops, ask questions and learn the history of the food you buy,” he says.

“Unlike the supermarkets the local farmers have pride and passion in the produce they offer, the stories and effort they put in makes a massive difference to the taste in your mouth.”

Sam has worked with some of the finest ingredients found anywhere in the world. So, if he had to eat one dish for the rest of his life, what would it be?

“Cheese on toast with HP brown sauce,” he says “Every single time!”

Sounds good to us.

While it can’t promise cheese on toast, The Terrace Restaurant & Bar offers everything from brunch and morning coffee to dinner and cocktails.

The Swinton Estate has two main restaurants – Samuel’s and The Terrace – and Sam says they both have their own distinct personalities.

“Samuels is our formal restaurant set in the grandeur of the main dining room in the castle where the Terrace is a casual ‘all occasion’ restaurant where you can drop in for a simple bite to eat or sit and relax, trying many different dishes over a couple of hours,” he says.

To view sample menus, take a sneak peek at Samuel’s and find out more about Swinton’s cookery schools visit www.swintonestate.com.

The Swinton Estate is one of the largest privately-owned estates in England, situated near Masham in North Yorkshire and stretching over 20,000 acres from the River Ure in Wensleydale up onto the moors.

It includes Swinton Park, the 32-room castle hotel, Swinton Cookery School, the newly launched adjacent Country Club & Spa and Swinton Bivouac, the estate’s tree lodge and glamping retreat.