Cookery Theatre


The Cookery Theatre will be hosting live cookery demonstrations over the weekend throughout the day and will be held in The Methodist Chapel – so we won’t be battling the elements or the traffic!

Large TV screens at either side of the marquee ensure that no-one misses out on the action, of which there is always plenty! Our Chefs this year are from around the Dales’ finest hotels and restaurants, bistros and pubs and will be demonstrating their skills and showcasing some amazing seasonal dishes using the very best in local produce and taking inspiration from the bountiful countryside around us.

All Chefs volunteer their time and carry out their demonstrations free of charge, so please give them a big cheer and a round of applause as a thank you!

The chefs that we are featuring are:

Michael Barrett Head Chef, Street Head Inn, Bishop Dale 11:00 Saturday 18th June
Gavin Swift Head Chef, Aysgarth Falls Hotel, Aysgarth 12:00 Saturday 18th June
Craig Keenan Head Chef, Wensleydale Heifer, West Witton 14:00 Saturday 18th June
Michael McBride Owner and Head Chef, Thirteen, Leyburn 15:00 Saturday 18th June
Lee Sutcliffe Head Chef, Stone House Hotel, Hawes 11:00 Sunday 19th June
Tristan Prudden Head Chef, The Black Horse, Kirby Fleetham 12:00 Sunday 19th June
Chris Rahman Owner and Head Chef, Saffron, Leyburn 14:00 Sunday 19th June
15:00 Sunday 19th June

Michael Barrett

Michael is the Head Chef at the Street Head Inn, Newbiggin in Bishopdale

Michael joined the Army at the age of seventeen, training as a Chef and eventually serving for twenty-two years during which he was attached to a number of regiments serving in many parts of the world. His service including some difficult postings to Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland and he is quick to point out that, in addition to providing catering services to the troops, the catering staff are also serving soldiers, and as such take on the same armed offensive and defensive duties as their regimental colleagues.

After the Army, Michael retrained to become a Chef in the very demanding environment of oil rigs but decided to settle at the Street Head in Bishopdale after a period in agency work.

Michael is passionate about food, the quality and presentation and the use of local products as the ingredients in his dishes. This means that he has no hesitation in catering for people with special dietary needs or creating dishes to suit customer’s tastes.

Head Chefs are usually not seen by their customers but Michael’s enjoys making regular appearances at restaurant events and the very popular Sunday carvery. Always in his kitchen whites he is to be seen serving and talking to his customers.

Craig Keenan

Craig Keenan is the Head Chef at the Wensleydale Heifer.

During the last 10 years Craig has cooking at many fantastic restaurants across Britain including a spell working with Raymond Blanc. Having now worked at the Wensleydale Heifer for almost 3 years Craig has helped develop many of the new dishes and is committed to maintaining the very high standard required by a top restraint. Craig’s relentless passion and motivational skills have not only made the Wensleydale Heifer one of the most desirable’s restaurants in Yorkshire but also a fantastic place for young chefs to come and learn their trade.

Michael McBride

Michael McBride is Chef Proprietor of Thirteen in Leyburn

Michael started his cooking journey at Darlington College after which he learning the basics of becoming a chef at Hall Garth Hotel near Darlington.

This position was followed by a period of six years at The Grange Hotel in York working his way up through the ranks from a ‘chef de partie’ up to the position of ‘sous chef’.

Taking time away from the world of fine dining and the pressures of working to a 2 rosette level – he broadened his experience as Chef at a gastro pub near Harrogate but returned to top level work by accepting a great opportunity to take a sous chef position at the very well known ‘Black Swan Hotel’ in Helmsley.

It was now time for Michael to look for his first Head Chef position and this he achieved by joining the team at the Blue Lion in East Witton, where he remained for just over 3 years.

Having settled here in Leyburn, close to where his wife Sarah was born and grew up, it was time to find an establishment to call his own in which he could put his own creativity to work. This he achieved in July 2014 by opening Thirteen, offers modern British seasonal dishes with a great selection of wines in a relaxed dining experience here in the Yorkshire Dales.

Tristan Prudden

Tristan Prudden is Head Chef at The Black Horse Kirby Fleetham.

Tristan had an early interest in food and cooking, and at the age of 13 started working in professional kitchens, gaining experience through different roles. In 2009, he was successful in being awarded the Scholarship place at Tante Marie Cookery Academy in Woking (part owned by Gordon Ramsay) where he excelled from the outset, graduating in 2010 as Student of the Year with a Cordon Bleu Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts.

Since graduating, Tristan has gained a range of experience in professional kitchens, working at The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, Aysgarth Falls Hotel, The Little 3 in Thirsk, Grantham Arms, Boroughbridge, The Garden Rooms at Tennants and now the The Black Horse at Kirby Fleetham where he is the Head Chef. The Black horse currently holds 2 AA Rosettes which he intends to maintain. He is keen to further his experience and in January 2016 was a finalist in the Game Chef of the Year Competition. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills by demonstrating at events around the area.

Tristan is passionate about cooking fine food with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, letting the food speak for itself. He believes that Yorkshire produces some of the finest ingredients available, from fresh fish, farm reared meats and locally grown vegetables to locally made ice cream and preserves and is delighted to have some of the best produce from the best suppliers right on his doorstep.

Chris Rahman

Chris Rahman is the owner and Head Chef of Saffron in Leyburn.

Chris started his career in catering when he was only thirteen, qualifying at sixteen and at seventeen opened his owned restaurant in Somerset.

Since that early start he has always owned his own restaurants with the resulted that he quickly leaned not only the importance of good food but also the need to provide first class customer service.

Chris and his family gradually moved north via restaurants in Minehead, Honiton, Knaresborough eventually opening Saffron in Leyburn, which over the last ten years has developed into a restaurant with an enviable reputation.

Saffron features Bangladesh and Indian style cuisine but Chris augments this by introducing dishes he is justly proud to have developed himself using his extensive knowledge of eastern food, spices and the catering profession.

Chris Rahman is a big supporter of everything to do with Leyburn regularly giving demonstrations of his specialist cooking in aid of local cancer charities.

Gavin Swift

Gavin Swift is the Head Chef at the Aysgarth Falls Hotel.

Gavin has worked all over the north of England including the Wyvil Arms at Constable Burton, Hendersons and a number of restaurants in Manchester and York during which time he has developed his skills in cuisine in the modern British style enhanced by the subtle use of spices.

Gavin has a particular love of sea food dishes which allow him to demonstrate his food creativity to both his customers and also the team of young Chefs that he leads so capably.

Gavin is no stranger to cookery demonstrations having first demonstrated his skills at the Dales Festival of Food and Drink in 2006

Lee Sutcliffe

Lee Sutcliffe is the Head Chef at the Stone House Hotel.

Lee is an example of the depth of talent in the Dales. Born and bred locally, Lee learned his profession with three years at the Street Head Inn in Bishopdale, during which he trained at Darlington Collage, followed by periods at a busy Leeds central city restaurant, The White Heart in Pool, Otley and now Head Chef at the Stone House Hotel and all this at only twenty-nine.

Being a forty-five room hotel the position of Head Chef at the Stone House is demanding with the menus changing every day to provide variety to hotel guests, the provision of top quality cuisine expected from a gold standard hotel and the need to provide dishes to meet special dietary requirements.

Lee specialises in traditional Dale’s cuisine but with a modern touch. He uses local ingredients and items produced from his own kitchen, black pudding and ice cream.

Where possible he likes to introduce naturally grown items such as wild garlic and mushroom, creating dishes with a distinctive flavour.

Leyburn’s hospitality

Leyburn has a host of food and gift shops, hotels, public houses and restaurants. Visit them and buy something special, have lunch, a snack or a cup of tea. Even better stay for the evening and enjoy the entertainment and hospitality.

The Grand Draw

Look out for the sign in the Market Square which says Grand Draw, purchase a ticket and try your luck at winning the first prize of £200 or the second prise of £100. The prizes will be drawn at 4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Be entertained by bands of The Dales

The Dales have a tremendous reputation for making music so why not spend some time listening to 4 award winning Bands playing jazz, traditional band music, swing and popular tunes. We're pleased to have; Leyburn Band, Old Glory Jazz Band, Muker Silver Band and Reeth Brass Band joing us over the weekend.