10 Minutes with Harrison Barraclough, chef patron, The George at Wath

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th August 2017

Harrison Barraclough, chef patron at The George at Wath which has been awarded two Rosettes in the AA Restaurant guide, talks to The Staff Canteen about his journey since his solo venture a year ago.

“It’s been a rollercoaster experience,” said Harrison, “the business is ever changing and moulding to the changing demands of the clientele. I have had loads of fun over this past year and have really enjoyed every second!”

The George at Wath
The George at Wath

Ingredients and menu

With the kitchen garden named after his son, Freddie, Harrison is passionate about using fresh local produce and cooking in modern techniques. “We experiment with a lot of our starters using produce from the kitchen garden. For example - we have combined King Scallops with different textures of home-grown strawberries and lavender. My favourite main course currently is a Salmon dish - it's the perfect summery dish using local salmon, radish, samphire and garden herbs.

“I'm not afraid to say some things have been magic... and some tragic! I bought a pizza oven and we've maybe only sold two pizzas! So that was a waste of time although it can be used for home smoking briskets. As the months have gone on, we've been able to identify when our busier times are going to be, which allows us to make the most of prep time in the quieter periods and work on the more technical side of cooking and sit down as a team to develop the menu. The menu changes every 2 weeks (at least!) so we are constantly evolving.”

Awards and accolades

Harrison went on a training course alongside Paul Binnington, who owned Harrison’s last place of work, The Black Lion in Thirsk. The course was an insight into gaining AA rosettes and Michelin stars. This paid off, as Harrison was just a few months off being the youngest in the country to receive an AA rosette. Now, he is the proud chef patron of the George at Wath, a two AA rosette winning restaurant.

Heritage tomatoes
Heritage tomatoes

“Being awarded 2 rosettes so early on was an honour, and a huge achievement for me. It put us right on track for where we wanted the business to go”, he says.

With the North now boasting a two star restaurant placing it firmly on the map, Harrison finds the Northern dining scene an exciting place to both live and work in. “I'm constantly dining out and trying some of the amazing places when I have free time. It's inspiring to see the great standards at which the restaurants are run, and one big thing I've noticed is that restaurants are getting more relaxed which allows the food to have more flare.

“A recent visit to Skosh in York really inspired me - It's a great concept and is working really well for them. The restaurant style is very laid back, with no compromise on the quality of service or skill of cooking. I went after meeting Skosh's chef patron Neil Bentinck at The Staff Canteen Networking Lunch at The Black Swan at Oldstead. Of course, it goes without saying that Tommy and James Banks & co. are really leading the hospitality scene at the moment.”

Strawberries and cream
Strawberries and cream

Future plans

With things going so well for Harrison, he has some exciting ideas for the future, “I hope to continue to evolve and find my own niche and exciting concept. I work with a really close team at the moment and I would love for them to continue on the journey with me.

“Although I was young when I took on my own restaurant, I have a great team with me which really helps. I worked all hours as a head chef for someone else so the kitchen workload hasn't changed - if anything I would say it's given me more freedom to push in my own direction."

If you were looking to follow in Harrison’s footsteps the chef has some advice, “I'd advise to just be careful - it quickly becomes clear that being a chef patron isn't just looking after the kitchen - all aspects of the business need to be considered and really worked on. I'd mostly advise to invest in lots of coffee!”

By Sian Bennett

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th August 2017

10 Minutes with Harrison Barraclough, chef patron, The George at Wath