Kenny Atkinson Kitchen Confidential

Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson of Rockliffe Hall looks forward to the flavours of the season with the arrival of game birds and root vegetables

Cooking With

As a chef, my favourite season is autumn – it’s the time of year when you start getting more robust flavours in your dishes. Local always comes first and even if our usual suppliers don’t have what we’re looking for, we try to stay in the area. Even though there isn’t the variety of fruit we have in the summer months, there’s still enough to go round and we always make sure our three restaurants are well stocked to make anything from baked apple tarts to a pear parfait. I’ll also be happy to see the arrival of winter vegetables and seasonal fruit like quince – not to mention game, which will be back on the menu. We get all our game birds from the local butcher. Partridge is full of flavour, easy to cook and doesn’t dry out like grouse tends to do. I like to cook partridge in warm chicken stock, slowly poached for 6-7 minutes and then pan-fried in oil and butter with a little streaky bacon. I then baste the bird so it’s golden and carve the breast from the crown. It tastes best with pear purée, roasted chestnuts, baby onions and smoked bacon lardons. I serve it simply – just arranged on a portion of buttered cabbage and finished with pickled pears.

Root vegetables may not seem that exciting to some, but they’re great for making a hearty soup – you can get a lot of flavour from them if you know how. Spicy parsnip soup hits the spot on a cold day, and this year we’ll be serving it with roast scallops. In the winter, meaty cold-water fish is really good – we get our mackerel, black bream and crab from the icy waters of the Whitby coast. We also serve poached lobster dressed with rapeseed oil and lemon juice and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds on top of a butternut squash risotto.

Who i'm using

My main fish supplier is Hodgson Fish based in Hartlepool – they supply us with our north coast fish all the way from Berwick to Scarborough. Beef, rare-breed pork and lamb comes from local farms supplied to us by Country Valley Grand Reserve. They’re located in the same village and I’ve been using them for nearly two years; they also provide us with our rabbit and game birds. For seasonal fruit and vegetables, I use Wellocks, who are based in Lancashire.



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