My approach to cooking is relaxed and regional. North-country dishes with a sense of place, ccasionally given a modern twist. Michelin describes it as “Yorkshire with French influences”.
I cooked from an early age. My mum got MS when I was eight, so I did a lot for her. My first proper kitchen job was in a country house hotel called The Milburn Arms.
The Star is first and foremost a local pub. In the car park, there are tractors parked next to brand new Aston Martins.
Getting staff is not much of a problem for us, despite the remote location. Lots of people want to work for us; from young lads from the village right through to city-based chefs who are after a change of pace.
I hope at least one of my kids follows me into the business. If all four do, we could run the restaurant together. I’ve thought it all through: one front of house, one on reception and two in the kitchen.
I wasn’t taught by anyone, but I cook with passion. My food has a real sense of terroir about it.
We try and avoid the extra bits at The Star, such as canapés and amuse bouches. It’s got to remain a pub. It can’t be too fancy or it turns into a restaurant. You’ve got to think about the locals who have supported us from day one. I haven’t upset anyone yet, to my knowledge.
There is money in cookbooks, especially if you self-publish. It’s good for building The Star brand, too.
I was among the first UK chefs to get a Michelin star cooking in a pub. It’s a very good thing that we now have 10 pubs with stars – it’s a far more relaxed way of dining that most UK people get. You really feel like you can kick back and read a paper.
I’m in the process of writing a third book. The first two have been about my cooking at The Star, but this book will be more about kids’ food.
I love cooking. It’s a hobby to me – it’s lucky I can make a living out of it too.
I didn’t work in many places, I just got on with it.
It’s a great vibe at The Star. We get a good mixture of locals and destination diners, and even the odd celebrity too.
I’ve been watching some of The Trip on BBC Two. It’s a good show, but I wish they had come here. Hopefully there will be a second series.
Many of my boys have gone on to do well themselves, including James Mackenzie at the Pipe and Glass in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and Charlie Lakin at The Marquis at Alkham, Kent, who has just got a well-deserved rising-star rating.
We run a little shop next to The Star. People call it the Harrods of Harome, but we sell basic stuff like baked beans, too.