There are so many exciting things happening in the north this winter, and it’s wonderful to be a part of it. My wife Johanna and I are well-settled at The Angel Inn at Hetton and we’re very much looking forward to a proper Yorkshire Christmas. We have big plans for The Angel, and it’s safe to say, the most wonderful time of the year is definitely one of the best times to pop in and see us.

My family and I had a great meal at The Parkers Arms in Newton-In-Bowland recently. The menu is really interesting – definitely not your normal pub grub.

I had soused Scottish herring to start, served with creamed horseradish potato salad – it was excellent. Followed by a beautifully cooked pork chop, with proper chips.

With the Rugby World Cup and Japan in the limelight recently, I’ve been reflecting on our trip there back in 2016. It was one of the most fascinating countries I have ever visited.

I have long-admired Japanese cooking; this comes across in my own cooking. A standout meal for me and one that I count as my top three meals ever, was restaurant Hajime in Osaka. In fact,
the following year, they were awarded three Michelin stars, which came as no surprise.

The signature dish, ‘chikyu’ (planet earth) is made of up to 110 different vegetables, grains and herbs, artfully arranged around a shellfish foam to represent the land and sea.

Absolutely superb!


It’s my favourite time of year – game season.

Our menu is an abundance of local game now, all shot within 10 miles of The Angel.

The likes of partridge and sika deer all making an appearance. I’m also using a lot of Jerusalem artichoke, crosnes, cep mushrooms, wood sorrel and of course, pumpkins.

As for fruits, apples and pears are now in season and we’re also working with fresh yuzu from Japan.

During my time in Devon, we worked with wonderful gardeners to grow as much of our own fruit and vegetables as possible.

We thought we’d try to grow our own yuzu, assuming that it would not come to fruition.

Dartmoor can sometimes experience its own microclimate and to our delight, we managed to grow our own fresh yuzu. If you haven’t tasted it, yuzu is a citrus fruit with a sharp taste – a little like grapefruit. It’s beautiful.


Autumn was an incredibly exciting one for The Angel Inn at Hetton; we were awarded with a Michelin star in the Michelin UK & Ireland Guide 2020.

I have been fortunate enough to have been awarded a Michelin star in the past, but nothing beats receiving this prestigious award in a restaurant you can call your own.

What a feeling!

Only 187 restaurants in the UK and Ireland boast Michelin stars, so we feel truly grateful to be counted amongst the finest establishments in the country – and so quickly after taking over the reins at The Angel. It’s an exceptional property with a rich culinary history and we’re extremely proud that it is considered one of the finest places to eat in the country.

The Michelin star comes hot on the heels of the AA Hospitality Awards, which took place in London just two weeks earlier and saw The Angel receive four coveted rosettes for the cooking.

The AA awards four rosettes to restaurants that “exhibit intense ambition, a passion for excellence, superb technical skills, and remarkable consistency” – something that our team, both front and back of house, strive for every day.

These two awards show how far we’ve come in the 12 months since collecting the keys for our treasured Angel; and we hope it gives our guests a taste of what’s to come in the months and years to follow.

Looking ahead to 2020, we’re delighted that plans for our forthcoming refurbishment of The Angel will be going ahead throughout January, so we will be closed during that period. We are very excited to be giving this beautiful building a facelift, while keeping many of the original features and charming qualities loved by our guests.


Poached and roast chicken, cranberry gel, shitake mushroom, salsify, bread sauce, chicken cracker
Serves 4

This year, we’re steering away from tradition and having chicken for our Christmas lunch. I’m not a massive fan of turkey… for me you just cannot beat a good roast chicken.

For the chicken


2kg free-range chicken. Breast removed but skin left on.


Place in a bain-marie or water bath, set at 63°C and cook for 1hr 30 mins.

Remove from bag and finish in a pan skin side down until the skin is crisp and golden.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve.

For the cranberry gel


500g frozen or fresh cranberries

100g icing sugar


Add the ingredients into a stainless-steel bowl and cover with film.

Leave in a warm place, above the stove for 3hrs, or until all the juice has been extracted.

Pass through a fine cloth/muslin.

Thicken with a product called Ultratex, a great stable powdered tapioca, thickening without taste or discoloration.

For the teriyaki mushrooms


150ml teriyaki sauce

8 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed and finely sliced

30g unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven at 180°C, fan speed 3.

Place sliced mushrooms onto a non-stick baking tray with the butter.

Bake until the butter has melted, and the mushrooms are starting to dry out.

Pour teriyaki sauce into a non-stick pan, then add the mushrooms.

Reduce the mixture until all mushrooms are coated and sticky.

Set aside until ready to use.

Keep at room temperature.

For the bread sauce


300g milk

6 slices of white bread, crusts removed

1 small shallot, peeled and cut in half

1/2 bay leaf

1x sprig of thyme

Salt and white pepper

Infuse milk with the bay leaf, shallot, thyme, clove and peppercorn.

Set thermometer to 90°C and add bread with crusts removed.

Pour in passed milk until desired consistency.

Add salt to taste.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the rice and barley granola


20g wild rice

20g pearl barley

20g quinoa

300ml vegetable oil for frying


Heat oil to 190°C.

Fry all the above individually until puffed, approximately 30/45 seconds, then place onto absorbent paper.

To serve, lightly chop all the above ingredients together until a granola-like texture is formed.

Sprinkle onto the crisp chicken skin.