Exclusive: Frances Atkins to stay at Michelin-starred Yorke Arms
Leading North Yorkshire chef Frances Atkins took the opportunity of breaking the news she would be staying at the Yorke Arms restaurant when she opened the Nidderdale Food and Drink Festival.
One of only six Michelin-starred chefs, it was the first time Frances had spoken publically on the subject since the hotel at Ramsgill in Nidderdale was put up for sale in the summer with a price tag of £1.75m.
In front of a packed crowd at the opening event of this new festival at Pateley Bridge Memorial Hall on Saturday, she announced she was to remain as the Michelin-starred chef in charge of the restaurant.
Frances, a fellow of the Masterchefs of Great Britain, said one of the main reasons she was staying at the Yorke Arms, which was created by Atkins and her husband BIll, is her passion for Nidderdale, the importance of sustainability and her dedication to using local produce including the ingredients she grows herself in her own vegetable garden at the back of the hotel.
Saturday's first-ever Food and Drink Festival attracted a good turnout for a wide range of events in Pateley Bridge.
Organised by Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, a high profile event starring TV presenter and author Clare Balding to promote her latest children's book The Racehorse who Dsappeared sold out.
The popular broadcaster once again showed her affection for all things Nidderdale by mentioning her visit on her BBC Radio 2 morning programme the following day), giving numerous plugs for Pateley Bridge.
The signs are good that Balding will return to Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale in the future to support its efforts to raise its profile and boost its tourist trade.
Saturday's popular foodie event also saw the TV and radio celebrity presentating the first Nidderdale Community Hero award.
The joint winners of this new award were Martin Dunleavy and Paul Lambert, who this year retired as scout leaders.
Between them they have served upper Nidderdale scouts for a total of 70 years.