‘It was fight or flight – and the second wasn’t an option’ food from suppliers, too. It has all been an experience. But people have loved it, and really supported us. We hadn’t expected how popular it would be. We couldn’t have hoped for more.’ Since lockdown eased at the start of July, the home deliveries have continued apace, diners have started to return to their Coach Street restaurant and they have launched their new grab and go service – a takeaway ready meal concept they had always hoped to launch but which running a busy restaurant had never allowed. ‘We always wated to have grab and go food. It was in our business plan and lockdown brought it all forward,’ says Rebecca. ‘Now, we have a fridge where people can pop in and take a taste of Elsworth home with them. ‘It’s going well so far and we’re hoping people will embrace the pick-up service and it will become a big part of what we do.’ Elsworth Kitchen’s ability to flourish is unsurprising. Both Rebecca and Bruce have more than 30 years’ experience at the top flight of hospitality. Bruce, 45, was operations director at the much-lauded The Angel at Hetton, head of taste at Keelhams Farm and the recipient of a prestigious Acorn Award. He also worked at Lancashire’s Northcote with well-known chef Nigel Haworth and at the Michelin star Rascasse in Leeds. Rebecca has worked at the celebrated Devonshire Arms in Bolton Abbey and was general manager at the four-star Craven Heifer in Addingham and the five-star Ashmount Country House in Haworth. Opening Elsworth was a return to the couple’s roots – they grew up in Skipton and Embsay. When the chance arose to open a place of their own, near to their childhood homes, it was too much to resist. The restaurant, a former bridal shop, needed big renovations and, again, members of the family stepped in to help them both build their dream. Rebecca, who studied art and design at Sheffield Hallam University, has also used her expert eye to create the pared back interior. Elsworth is much more than a fabulous dining experience – although you definitely get that. As well as Bruce’s stellar food, the menus pay homage to a huge larder of Yorkshire food with suppliers including Dales Dairy, Yockenthwaite Granola, Bradford-based Delifresh, Skipton’s Coffee Care and Le Bon Vin wine merchants in Sheffield. But their work to create good food goes far beyond the boundary of their restaurant door. When they first opened, they were determined to become a place beloved and used for the community. Their dream was fulfilled. Before lockdown, everyone from customers looking for fine dining on a weekend to groups of new mums meeting for coffee in their dedicated children’s corner had taken Rebecca and Bruce’s concept to their hearts. Although not all of this is possible again just yet, they still work with other local companies, including providing nourishing food for nearby Ebru Evrim Yoga Studio. Although the challenges the pandemic has brought have put intense pressure on the business, for Bruce and Rebecca seeing Elsworth Kitchen live to fight another day has been life affirming. ‘It seems those people who have able to think on the spot and work around the problem have been the ones who have done well,’ says Bruce. ‘But we’ve also had a fantastic community who have supported us. It’s been very humbling. ‘It’s been absolutely crazy and so challenging but there has also been a lot to appreciate. We’ve very lucky. People always ask us about expansion and will we move from Skipton. As business people maybe we should, but we don’t want to, this is our dream and we love it here.’ Glorious food is served up all day Coffee and cake - the perfect partners N elsworthkitchen.co.uk Bruce with daughter Florence 110 Yorkshire Life: October 2020
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