James Mackenzie, who grew up in Filey on the North Yorkshire coast, started his career in the kitchen at just 13 years old, before going on to train at Scarborough Technical College (now Yorkshire Coast College) and various top kitchens around the country. He returned to Yorkshire in 2002, as head chef for Andrew Pern at The Star Inn in Harome, North Yorkshire – still one of his favourite places to take his children on a rare day off.
James Mackenzie’s hearty food – designed for customers with appetites – showcases traditional British ingredients, flavours and dishes, particularly those from the surrounding environs of Yorkshire. Scarborough Woof and Seaweed Fritters with Brown Crab Mayonnaise display the best the local Yorkshire coast has to offer, while Partridge, Cranberry and Juniper Sausage Rolls are an interesting twist on this British staple. Foraged ingredients are also a feature in such dishes as Wild Rabbit, Langoustine and Jerusalem Artichoke Crumble with Wild Garlic Crust. Dessert is equally as creative, with plates such as Pistachio and Raspberry Bakewell Tart, and White Chocolate and Cranberry Bread and Butter Pudding offering new takes on old classics.
With the sheer breadth of high-quality ingredients being made in the vast surrounding counties, it is no wonder that James Mackenzie places this bounty at the centre of his food. From fresh fish and seafood from the eastern coastal waters to game and beef, born of the land, not to mention the hand-made cheeses and charcuterie crafted by local artisans.
This focus on local suppliers is stressed in his first cookbook, On The Menu: Seasonal Recipes for a Culinary Life, which was released in 2012. Here he sings the praises of James White, a nearby butcher who supplies the Pipe and Glass Inn with its pork. Writes James: “Not only is he a brilliant and passionate butcher, but all of the meat he sells he also slaughters in immaculate whitewashed buildings immediately behind the shop…This is truly amazing in this age of stringent health and safety laws…All of the meat has been cared for through every stage of life and death.” For James, fantastic food means the simple things done really, really well. "If you have great produce and treat it with respect, the quality shines through and the taste will be at its best".