Along with Beverley Racecourse, we embarked on a culinary partnership with Chef Patron of Winteringham Fields, Colin McGurran.
Winteringham Fields is a fully functioning farm where staff are encouraged to take an active part in the cultivation of their produce. Anything that can’t be grown or reared on site is sourced locally, a philosophy the chef refers to as their ‘One-Mile Menu’, and we were keen to ensure these catering principles were applied to our partnership.
The Attraction Restaurant, popular with local racegoers and regular revellers alike, normally offers an a la carte menu with great British classics such as sirloin steak with mushroom, vine tomato and hand cut chips and roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding and trimmings. For the 2017 race season, racecourse diners were able to enjoy a taste of the mouth-watering food served at Michelin-recommended Winteringham Fields whilst enjoying a great day out at one of Yorkshire’s leading leisure venues.
Two signature dishes were served in the Attraction Restaurant throughout the season, crafted by Colin and prepared by our chefs, initially under his supervision and ultimately on their own. Diners had the choice of roasted rump of lamb, confit belly, new season pea salad, red chicory & romesco sauce, or slow braised beef cap, lovage pomme Purée, roasted shallots, bone marrow & bordelaise sauce.
The second element was a full kitchen takeover on the Season Closer, bringing Colin’s famous 7 course tasting menu to the Attraction Restaurant, preceded by a luxury gin reception courtesy of our friends at Sloemotion. The menu, which was kept a secret until the day, was crafted to perfectly complement an afternoon at the races, with light, invigorating courses including a beetroot mousse with chicken liver parfait, pan-roasted gilthead bream & a 78% chocolate delice with praline mousse & mint ice-cream.
Experience was central, with diners on shared tables; the maître d’ announcing each course as it was set down; ‘novelty’ courses such as the tomato gazpacho, crafted beautifully to look like a tomato but in reality something different; & the use of liquid nitrogen in a raspberry bomb palate cleanser, delighting our own staff and diners alike. Given that this was an event designed to attract new racegoers, we also gave a tipping talk before lunch & ensured courses were staged around races. Guests were invited to the paddock to choose a Best Turned Out and present the trophy.
The campaign for places was deliberately exclusive, opening an guest list that interested parties could register to be on, which we promoted to our own and Winteringham Field’s mailing lists. We then opened bookings one day earlier to this guest list than the general public.
“Whilst the level of dining offered was already good, this link up has inspired our staff to look to another level. Two or three are on a trainee management programme and it so enthused them to see how Michelin recommended food was prepared & presented. As far as we are concerned this is just the start.”
Tim Wray, Director of Outside Catering at CGC