Monday, 10 September 2012

Baker - Job of the Month

Back in God's Own Country to continue my vital research in to Yorkshire tearooms.  A perfect opportunity has emerged for one lucky person: Lewis and Cooper want a part-time cook/baker in their tearoom in Northallerton.

Lewis and Cooper's is a grocery shop of units grown-together over the last 112 years.  It specialises in top-quality foods and wine for the discerning diner, cook and host. A wander through their food halls, which grow like a cave system back in to the depths of the building, is an exotic trip back in time. Unlike the deracinated supermarkets, aromas from all round the world waft from the deli, the bakery supplies and faintly from the chiller cabinets. There are bargains; I've had top-notch free range chickens at standard prices and it is the best source for bulk lavender flowers.

Above the shop are parlours set with snowy tables which look out over the high street.

I hold Strong Views on the food in L&C. With the exception of a dispute about the finest kippers, it is the best tearoom because it has philosophy of preparing food for the mouth and stomach rather than the eyes.  This is not to suggest the food is ugly, but it is for consumption, not modelling.

When you sit in the parlour and look across the road and down the high street you see the mighty Bettys,  the twinkling establishment patronised by the Alan Bennett-loving classes. A religious divide opens at this point between those who favour the international polish of the Swiss-influenced Bettys and the British approach of  L&C. 

This is not to imply that Betty's uses anything other than superb ingredients; it's just that they craft witty look-at-me fancies while L&C prefer to serve an exquisite scone with local butter, cream and strawberry jam. 

The difference in approach is reflected in the recruitment policy. Lewis and Cooper are looking for a tip-top home baker and cook.

Contact Becky Robinson on 01609 772 880 for details and an application form. 


Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Betty's Swiss influenced? How so? When I visited the one in Harrogate with my Mum it seemed quintissentially English

Woman on a Raft said...

The founder, Fredrick Belmont, was a Swiss confectioner.

It would be reasonable to say that Belmont found a market which enthusiastically embraced his vision from the land of precision watch movements and cuckoo clocks, all the more remarkable since he began in 1919 in the shattered aftermath of WWII.

British baking always has a substantial and wild feel to it. Compare the Bettys famous product "Fat Rascals" which is a rich bun which requires the almonds and cherries to be precisely placed.

A Brit would never think to do that, but Belmont was creating edible jewellery which looks glittering and tempting on the plate. His background as a confectioner taught him how important it is that food should look like treasure, which is after all, what it is - an item of real worth, not to be treated casually.

MTG said...

Very interesting and most enlightening. A visit to Bettys Café is a compulsory stop during Summer pilgrimages through Yorkshire. Sadly these days, few other things are so reassuringly English and Blytonian.

I never noticed the influences you describe and I must give Lewis & Cooper a try.

Electro-Kevin said...

I won't be applying, I'm afraid.

I'm too much in demand in my home town.

(We are truly blessed with a large amount of thriving eateries and pubs.)

Woman on a Raft said...

Don't forget to visit the Edwardian splendour of Botham's tearoom in Whitby, MTG. Make sure you have a look round the bakery below; there are two distinct styles of baking. The dependable bracks and plumbreads represent speak of solid men in dark suits while the extravagant buns and themed fancies are like the flighty girlfriends your mother warned you about.

Woman on a Raft said...

I think there is a shake-out going on in the catering sector, E-K. There are a few high-end restaurants which will keep going but I think many of the mid-range ones are going to be shutting up shop unless they can think of a really good reason why people would pay them when pubs and teashops are so competitively priced.

It probably depends on where you are in the country but I find that increasingly they are specifying the sources of what they supply. I went in to a farm shop last week and they all but told me the ear-tag number which my stewing beef used to wear.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Tea Hee, Easingwold?