The Station Hotel has lost its ‘best-kept secret’ status, as it’s rapidly becoming one of the most popular restaurants in Northallerton. This wasn’t always the case. Before manager Rob Davidson took over, the limited menu was full of mundane pub grub that did nothing to excite the palate. A man on a mission, Rob knew an exciting and varied menu of freshly prepared dishes made from locally sourced ingredients would get diners at tables. Of course, for Café @ The Station to succeed, the kitchen was going to need some talented chefs. Rob hit the jackpot with Jennie, Vivi, Debbie, and Leighanne. What’s the formula behind the magic that’s produced in the Station Hotel’s kitchen? The chefs decided to dish the beans.
You can’t afford to have friction in a busy restaurant kitchen, particularly when you’re catering for a large function, and as chefs are notorious for being volatile, it’s just as well that all four ladies agree that they work well together; Debbie calls it the ‘Dream Team’. Jennie looks forward coming to work because the staff and customers are like family. This loyal team focus on producing top-notch food, and any minor disagreements are quickly forgotten.
Constantly working under pressure preparing orders flying in thick and fast in a hot, steamy kitchen may seem like an odd choice for a career, but not according to The Station Hotel restaurant chefs. Jennie loves that Rob gives them the freedom to be creative. If anyone wants to develop a new dish, Rob and others will carry out taste testing, as they did for the extensive Burger Station. No dish is added to the menu before the taste, texture, and presentation are perfected. For Vivi, it’s all the positive feedback that makes it worthwhile.
For anyone interested in a career in catering, here are the ladies’ top tips:
Jennie suggests starting by being a kitchen assistant and learning from a more experienced team member. She believes it’s important to try to gain as many skills as possible before you move up. Leighanne thinks you should start young, and she agrees with Jennie, that you should begin at the bottom, such as preparing vegetables, and work your way up. And if a chef yells at you? Leighanne says that means h/she likes you. Maybe we should ask Gordon Ramsay! For Debbie, the most important piece of advice is to experiment and develop new dishes. Vivi says you need to be passionate about cooking, and never stop learning new things. These tips help to explain why the food at The Station Hotel’s café is superior to other restaurants in Northallerton.
Favourite cuisine and signature dish
The ladies are all very different in their preferences for food they enjoy preparing. Leighanne is a fan of traditional British cuisine, such as The Station’s deep-filled gourmet pies that ‘stick to your ribs’. Her favourite dish on the menu is chicken breast in honey and mustard sauce. Italian cuisine is Vivi’s favourite, so it’s no surprise she enjoys cooking authentic lasagne, but she also makes a mean Hungarian Goulash. Debbie likes some spice in her cooking, so prefers Indian and Mexican cuisines, but what’s her signature dish? Yorkshire Pudding! The Station’s all-day traditional breakfasts are what get Jennie out of bed every morning. She loves the feedback. Her signature dish is the southern-style friend chicken, but don’t ask her to divulge the secret recipe for the coating!
The Station Hotel’s secret
The following reasons are why the chefs think Café @ The Station Hotel stands out in Northallerton:
- everyone is treated like family
- dog friendly restaurant
- genuinely warm and friendly welcome
- only the freshest, best quality ingredients are used, many of which are locally sourced
- no other restaurant has The Station’s team
- best breakfasts in town
Was it serendipity that brought Leighanne, Vivi, Debbie, and Jennie to the Station Hotel Northallerton, or was it down to the manager instinctively knowing which chefs would set his kitchen alight? (Metaphorically, of course!) Whatever brought these four talented chefs to the Station’s café, their skills and camaraderie in the kitchen are bringing increasing numbers of diners to sample the distinctive menu.