On a ‘culinary masterclass’ at Ye Old Bell in Barnby Moor

What better than a ‘culinary masterclass’? Especially when it’s held at Ye Old Bell in the village of Barnby Moor on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The Bell is a 59-room hotel that dates back to the 17th century. It has a fascinating history, rising to prominence as a pit stop between Edinburgh and London for the postal service in the 17th century. It has also served as stables, a chapel, and the HQ of the 1st Cavalry Division during WW2.

A photo from Ye Olde Bell’s website

Now fully renovated by owners Paul and Hilary Levack, the ‘Bell now combines modern and traditional features, plus has a multi-million-pound spa attached. It is a popular venue for weddings, banquets and parties – as shown by the number of glamourous guests milling around when I went along.

This hotel has big ambitions and is particularly keen to up its food game, hence the ‘culinary masterclass’ to give chef Tim Stamp the chance to showcase his skills and talk to us about his vision.

The hotel offers a fine-dining menu in its Restaurant Bar 1650, and a more relaxed offer in the St Leger Bistro-by-the-Bar. The spa has another restaurant focusing on healthy eating.

Our evening started with some delicate canapés. We tasted sweet and savoury foams and then enjoyed a bit of theatre as Tim flavoured salmon, scallops and beef with aromatic dry ice, adding spectacle as well as subtle flavours. Tim uses a range of interesting additions to his dishes, from micro-herbs to fruit and vegetable powders, from scented “caviar” beads to textured “soils”. We finished the evening building our own petit fours, adding our own combinations of flavours and textures to the delicate sweets.

It is clear that Tim has great aspirations for the food at the ‘Bell. He is keen to ensure that not only is this lovely old hotel known as great place to hold events, but also that people will come along specifically for his food. He is a talented young chef, and the ‘Bell is giving him a platform to showcase his skills. Well worth checking him out.

Abby Brennan
The author:

Abby lives in Radcliffe on Trent with her family and several chickens. She is a former restaurant owner and now mentors food business start-ups, writes recipes, and blogs at The Fishwife's Kitchen.