Time to vote for the north’s Deli of the Year

If you’ve got a local deli you love – it’s the final public stages of the national Deli of the Year competition and your vote is needed.

So far there’s been 18 delis nominated in the north east and 17 in the north west for the competition which ultimately gets judged by some of the UK’s leading food experts.

Over the coming weeks, customers will be able to vote for their chosen deli on the online pages comments will be shown to a panel of independent judges who gather together in June and choose a short list of regional winners.  A series of mystery visits then take place and the winning deli will be announced in September at the Great Taste Awards dinner in London.

To find out more about Deli of the Year visit www.delioftheyear.co.uk.

Chefs create Yorkshire menu for charity dinner

Brian TurnerTV chef Brian Turner, will host a special dinner at Leeds Corn Exchange this Friday to raise funds for Cancer Research UK as part of the Leeds Loves Food festival.

Together with Leeds chef Anthony Flinn, a specially created Yorkshire menu starts with ‘Scallop custard with brown shrimp sauce’ closely followed by ‘Yorkshire asparagus, radish, fennel & smoked haddock salad’.  A main course of ‘Rack of lamb with a pistachio crust on creamed cabbage with melting potatoes & spring onion gravy’ will precede dessert of ‘Wakefield rhubarb & Ampleforth brandy trifle’.

Tickets for the four course dinner, which is available for just one night, are currently on sale for £50 per person with all money raised going to Cancer Research UK, Leeds Corn Exchange’s chosen charity for 2012.

After dinner, Halifax born Brian Turner will give a short talk, a mini ‘Life of Brian’, where he will trace his journey from growing up in the town to becoming an award winning chef with a string of restaurants across the UK.  A regular on TV shows including This Morning and Ready, Steady, Cook since the 1990s, the chef has also been awarded a CBE for his services to tourism and training in the catering industry 2002.  Turner will also give guests a flavour of his latest cookery book, A Taste of Summer, which will be available to buy at the event.
In a press release about the event, Turner said:

“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with Anthony and produce a menu that highlights the diverse food offering we have in Yorkshire, from the coast to the dales.  I hope that everyone who comes along to support Cancer Research UK by attending the dinner takes away from it a reminder of just what a great region this is for local food against the backdrop of the striking Corn Exchange.”

Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of Leeds Corn Exchange, one of Leeds’s most iconic buildings. The Grade 1 listed building opened in 1863 and for decades was a thriving centre for the exchange and sale of corn, wheat, barley, hops, seeds and oil as well as regular farmers markets and leather fairs.

To buy tickets for the dinner, book online at: www.eventbrite.com/event/3421603107

* If you have a food event going on in the north of England, don’t forget you can post it up on the noticeboard here. You’ll need to be a member of n0tice.com and then simply click to ‘post new event‘.

The famous Wetherby Whaler lives again – opens today

I won’t be able to make it along to this later but I couldn’t let this pass without a mention on the blog – yes, the Wetherby Whaler is back.

A ceremony to officially open its new fish and chip restaurant, the original Harry Ramsden’s in Guiseley, takes place this lunchtime with guests of honour including Harry Ramsden’s daughter and granddaughter who are travelling from Ireland.

Also invited are local dignitaries and twin sisters, then called Mavis and Wendy Raistrick, who featured in the press and in a book about the famous restaurant when they attended a celebration there in 1952. The sisters walked from their home in Horsforth to be first in line when the restaurant marked its 21st anniversary by selling fish and chips at the original price.

The former Harry Ramsden’s has undergone a £500,000 refurbishment designed to bring the restaurant up to date, while maintaining the atmosphere the restaurant was renowned for. The famous chandeliers have been updated with brand new fittings, ensuring the restaurant will deliver the same impact on 21st Century customers as it did 80 years ago.

A big congratulations to all concerned! (I’d expect there might be something on The Northerner blog soon seeing as Martin’s also partial to the odd fish supper.)

Bad Yelp review? No problem, tell the world!

Would you call into a cafe where the advertising told you they had ‘the world’s worst’ sandwich on offer? Seems reverse advertising might just be the way to turn that round and prove the reviewer wrong.

As restaurateurs get ever more twitchy about us food bloggers and the power of the review sites, it was refreshing to see this pop up in my twitter stream the other day.

I haven’t been able to track down the location of this particular food outlet – could well be abroad – but if anyone knows them, I’d love to know whether it’s resulted in an increase in customers.

A sense of humour and the opportunity to lighten up a bit goes a long way to persuade people that you’re worth a look. Far better approach than all those ‘don’t’ rules. Hope it catches on…….

The woman who is baking her way around the world

bakesToday is, as I’m sure you’ll all know, world baking day when a global bakeathon will be taking place to share the joy of cakes. So what better day could there be to introduce you to the intrepid Lauren Prince who is attempting a journey around the world in 80 bakes.

From the safety and comfort of her north-east base, Lauren has been stirring, beating and scoffing her way through some of the cake-based cuisines of the world since September last year when she set about her challenge with a tart au citron.

Since then we’ve been treated to fancies such as the local Sunderland Gingerbread to exotics such as Herman the German Friendship Cake

As you can see from the most recent entry, Mexican Chocolate and Chilli Cake, each of the bakes comes with careful descriptions and some lovely photography.

Lauren says she was inspired to start her foodie journey after discovering interesting tastes in far off places during sabbatical travelling and from going on holidays.

“The idea came to me one metro ride to work. I love eating, baking and travelling. Why not combine them all and challenge myself to baking and blogging eighty things from around the world? I began that day and it started to consume my mind completely.”

There’s 50 more world recipes to go so follow the blog at http://aroundtheworldin80bakes.com. Oh, and she’s also running the Great North Run in aid of Oxfam and you can sponsor her efforts here.

Where to get a value Michelin lunch in the north

If you’re looking for some top nosh food at a reasonable price, heading for the lunch menu can be a way to sample the best menus at a more restricted cost than the full dinner menu.

The train company Trainline published a list of set lunch prices for the UK’s Michelin restaurants this week (see that here) using data from the Guardian’s data blog list of Michelin Star Restaurants so I’ve pulled out the northern ones to create the interactive map below and make it easier to compare the location and prices.

In brief, the cheapest two course lunch can be found at the Black Swan in Oldstead at £20, for three courses is L’Enclume in Cumbria for £25 and when it comes to value for money then there’s a generous four courses for £30 on offer in Merseyide at Fraiche. The priciest in the list is Burlington at the Devonshire Arms Country Hotel in North Yorkshire which costs £65 for the two courses.

* Map: Michelin value lunches in the north

* The data for the northern Michelin restaurants is here.

If you’ve eaten at any of these places, please do share your thoughts on the experience and value for money below.

Recreating the Chicken Parmo experience at home

It’s a brave food blogger who takes on a modern regional classic! I was interested to see this recipe to create the Teesside favourite of chicken parmo for a dining-in audience. The WWfoodie offers the full ingredients and methods for this ‘fakeaway’ along with the helpful accompanying serving suggestion:

“Serve your Parmesan with oven chips and a sharp little salad of cherry tomatoes dressed in balsamic vinegar.”

Enjoy 😉

How American restaurants mine data to drive business

“Welcome to the data-driven, number-crunching future of restauranteering. With the food business thriving again in the midst of America’s economic upswing – consistently claiming a whopping 4 percent of GDP — some of the nation’s top eateries are quietly embracing data mining to eke out profit in a tough economy. Software systems like Compeat, Hotschedules and Eatec help restaurants track complex metrics like sales trends, employee overtime, and food orders from suppliers.”

Fascinating post from Wired about the way food outlets are harnessing data mining software – and it seems its coming here with Michelin three star chef Daniel Boulud reported to be adding it to a London restaurant.