The Michelin starred Box Tree Restaurant from Ilkley began its 50th birthday celebrations last night with a gourmet tasting event at the *Cooking School at Dean Clough*. The award winning restaurant team delighted a packed house of eager foodies at the Halifax school with a demonstration and tasting of their modern French classic menu.
Head Chef Dan Birk gave away some of his Michelin kitchen secrets as he demonstrated delicious dishes, including a Wild Garlic soup with Truffles and Quails eggs followed by Daube of BÅ“uf A La Bourguignon. Business owner Rena Gueller talked about the Box Tree’s heritage with “behind the scenes” stories of the restaurant over the years ““ including coming across long lost menus from 1962. Then the restaurant was offering Dublin Bay prawn cocktail and Steak with peppercorn sauce. A far cry from today’s classic menus under the Gueller management, featuring favourites such as roast scallops, creamed celeriac and white truffle, papilotte of pigeon and hot apricot soufflé.
Box Tree Sommelier Didier de Costa gave a masterclass in wine tasting and the art of matching fine food and wine. He told how his love of wine began at home in Brittany as a boy when his dad would flavour his soup in the traditional way ““ with a splash of wine!
Rena also told the audience about her husband Simon Gueller’s lifelong friendship with world renowned chef Marco Pierre White who is now an ambassador for the Box Tree and a frequent visitor to Ilkley. Marco who began his career at the Box Tree will be the guest of honour at the restaurant’s 50th birthday celebrations next week.
Cooking School Executive Chef Matthew Benson-Smith hopes the sell out event will be repeated soon. _”It is a great honour for the Cooking School to host events with the Box Tree. Dan Birk made it all look so easy but you have to remember the pressure there is on any chef once there is a Michelin star to hold onto. I think that our Cooking School fans really appreciate being able to see that up close and ask any questions. There was lots of discussion about local ingredients, water baths, induction hobs and which blender to use! We are so grateful that despite time pressures, a renowned restaurant such as the Box Tree still takes the time out to support our work at the School and our UK cooking charity, Focus on Food”._
Rena Gueller added, _”It’s a great pleasure to be supporting and working with such a friendly team, inspiring and motivating people to enjoy food”._