Among the first British woman to win a Michelin star, Atkins put The Yorke Arms on the market earlier this year and told BigHospitality that she was planning to embark on a “new challenge” following the sale.
But Atkins and new owner Jonathan Turner have apparently hit it off and are planning a major refurbishment of the Dales venue.
“We were all set to embark for pastures new, but Jonathan’s deep rooted love of Yorkshire, his style and panache are very infectious and it really struck a chord with me,” says Atkins, who has cooked at the former coaching inn for over two decades.
“He has a genuine enthusiasm to create something even more special here and we hit it off straight away. I am thrilled to be part of his new team as we set out to deliver new, exciting plans for The Yorke Arms.”
Hotel consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton, took the property to market and identified Turner’s The Bayford Group as a potential buyer due to its portfolio of high-end restaurant, wedding and licensed businesses which includes Laudale Estate on Scotland’s west coast and Yorkshire’s Bowcliffe Hall.
“I have always admired the drive and talent of Frances who is respected for her culinary creativity and is a champion of local, seasonal produce,” says Turner. “We share a collective passion to further enrich and enhance Yorkshire’s rich heritage and I’m looking forward to working closely with her and her talented team.”
Atkins purchased The Yorke Arms with husband Bill in 1996 and opened it as a simple brasserie. The food gradually became more sophisticated and in 2003 the restaurant won its first star and has retained the accolade ever since.