Frances Atkins and former Michelin-starred team from The Yorke Arms to open a café in Harrogate

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Frances Atkins, Roger Olive and John Tullet have been operating their Paradise Food concept out of a wagon since the Yorke Arms closed in 2020

The team behind the formerly Michelin-starred restaurant, The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill is set to open a café in Harrogate on Saturday 26th February

The Yorke Arms was sold to Yorkshire-based businessman Jonathan Turner in 2018, who convinced Frances and her husband Bill to stay on despite their plans to retire.

However, due to the pandemic, the owner was forced to rebrand the site as a wedding venue in 2020. Chefs Frances Atkins and Roger Olive, together with front of house manager John Tullett then began operating their Paradise Foods concept out of a wagon at Daleside Nurseries, serving seasonal menus, selling bespoke hampers and hosting private dinners.

The cafe will provide them with a permanent site from which to operate, seating 60 people including an outdoor area, as well as continuing to cater for private events.

Frances Atkins said: “We are thrilled to be finally opening and very excited about our location. It was always the plan to open a cafe at Daleside, but owing to the difficulties ensued over the pandemic, we are over a year late in producing our forward plans.”

Stuart Townsend, managing director of Daleside Nurseries, added: “We were really excited when Frances, Roger and John decided that they wanted to join us on our cafe venture. Working with them over the last 18 months, we’ve developed a great partnership.”

Originally from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, Frances briefly worked as a waitress at the Michelin-starred Box Tree restaurant before becoming the first woman to be offered a kitchen job there. 

When she left The Box Tree, she worked in Scotland, at Denmark’s oldest confectioner, La Glace in Copenhagen, following which she returned to England, married, and took ten years out of working in kitchens because her husband didn’t deem it acceptable, being a woman, for her to pursue such a career. When their marriage broke up, she opened her own site, Atkins Restaurant, in Buckinghamshire. Then, she remarried and together with her husband Bill opened a country house hotel called Farleyer House in Scotland, which earned a Bib Gourmand. The calling to run a restaurant was too strong, however, so they returned to London to open Tate & Lyle’s Shaw Restaurant in London, where they stayed for three years before heading back to Ramsgill to open The Yorke Arms in 1997, which won its Michelin star in 2003 and kept it until the restaurant closed in 2020. Frances was the first female chef to win a Michelin star in the UK.

Image credit: Facebook/ Tony Reed photography

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 24th February 2022

Frances Atkins and former Michelin-starred team from The Yorke Arms to open a café in Harrogate