We want your stay with us to be just perfect, and that includes what you eat!
Many guests come to the Long Barn to celebrate a special occasion from an annual reunion with friends to a big birthday. We love cooking and one of our personal hates is going away and finding the kitchen lacking, from blunt knives to insufficient crockery. So for those of you wanting to self-cater, we can confidently say you will find everything you need and more in the Long Barn.
However, a number of guests decide to take the pressure off completely and leave it to a professional. We’re here to recommend to you the local options and help you organise the perfect meal. Today, we’d like to showcase the talents of Dan Graham, who set up his own business “At the Dinner Party” in 2017 with the aim of bringing the experience of a restaurant to you.
Dan is originally from a small market town in Northumberland and moved to North Yorkshire with his wife in 2013, having spent 5 years living and working in central London.
In 2017 following a successful 3-year career as head chef at the Talbot hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire, Dan decided to embark on a new venture and set up ‘At the Dinner Party’ by Dan Graham.
Throughout Dan’s career as a professional chef he has had the opportunity to work in some of the best restaurants in the world, having worked in France, Greece and a number of locations in the UK, Dan’s career has seen him cook for executive bankers in the city of London, celebrities in private villas in the French alps, royalty, and his biggest highlight was working at Michel Roux Jnr’s restaurant in Mayfair London, Le Gavroche, where he feels he was transformed from a good chef to a great chef under the watchful eye of the Roux family.
Some of Dan’s other career highlights include being a chef tutor at the fantastic York Cookery School, he’s also a judge for the deliciouslyorkshire taste awards, and a regular on the food festival circuit having the chance to demo his food for the public.
In 2017 Dan reached the semi-final of the National Chef of the Year competition fighting off competition for some of the UK’s best chefs. In 2018 & 2019 Dan was a finalist in the Kikkoman Masters held at the restaurant show in London in front of a live audience.
Dan’s most memorable highlight was in 2009 when he reached the final 3 of the BBC’s MasterChef the professionals, where he finished runner up in a life changing experience which opened many doors for him.
Dan’s biography is impressive, and his food is completely delicious; we love that he is passionate about using the wonderful local produce. We can highly recommend Dan; he cooked a wonderful celebratory meal for us and some friends earlier this year. Every single course was faultless.
We asked Dan a few questions for this blog:
What made you decide to become a chef? Like many chef’s backgrounds I never really excelled at school, I was more into sports than learning. So when the dreaded result confirmed what I already knew would be poor results, I had to make a choice and due to my grandma I had a love of baking and being in the kitchen, so I chose to go to catering college in Carlisle, and to my surprize I went from struggling at school to being a top student winner awards and prizes for my work. I have never really looked back since then. I suppose when you find something your passionate about its more like a hobby and less like hard work. But do not be fooled being a chef is hard work.
What was competing in Master Chef really like? MasterChef started off extremely intense and scary, in the very early stages you don’t even meet your fellow competitors, you were taken into a green room with a producer who briefed you on how thing would work, then at some point perhaps a few hours later you were called in to the kitchen, never seen it before, you walk in and Gregg and Monica are stood at a table full of ingredient then they say we want you to do this, you have 15 mins go for it. Your heads not even had a chance to stop gazing around the studio. Although the competition got harder the further, I went it also became easier to handle, you get use to the surroundings and cameras, and after the semi-final I actually really started to enjoy myself. It was a brilliant experience one which I am happy I did.
What would be your dessert island meal? Medium rare ribeye steak, chips and peppercorn sauce.
What do you always have in your fridge/larder? Butter and Garlic, the only two things you need to make something taste amazing.
Do you have a tip for cooking a dinner party for a large group? The 5 P’s (perfect preparation prevents poor) actually the real chef version is about 6 P’s but contains some bad language. Its all about choosing the right menu, go for a chilled dessert that can be made in advance like a panna cotta or a cheesecake. Similar for starter, go for a soup or a salad. Then for a main course try a slow cooked dish. Its choices like this that mean you can do almost 70% of all the work before any of your guest have arrived meaning you can then spend more time hosting than cooking.
Which chefs inspire you? I think all chefs are inspiring in a way, it’s not an easy job, nor is it glamorous, you miss out on family time and nights out with your mates and generally when others are sat enjoying the company of loved one us chefs are hard at work. With regards to famous chefs who inspire me I have to say Michel Roux Jnr, having worked for him at his 2 Michelin star restaurant in London I know what a fantastic person he is and the time and effort he puts in to train young chefs.
Favourite restaurant or pub? My favourite restaurant in the area is The Star Inn at Harome, my favourite pub is The Fairfax Arms in Gilling for its outside seating area, its stunning on a summer’s day.
Which Yorkshire seasonal produce do you most look forward to? Asparagus, Berries, New season Lamb and the game meats are fantastic.
What would your perfect day in North Yorkshire look like? This is easy for me, a walk and a picnic in Dalby forest with my wife and my daughter. Second to that would be a trip to Whitby for fish and chips.
What can guests expect from a dinner party catered by you? I pride myself on providing a close personal service which is second to none. I provide tailormade menus that you can have as much input in as you want to make your event that little bit more personal. The service is relaxed and non-intrusive and of course, my food is delicious.
If a full-on chef dinner party experience is not something you fancy Dan can also rustle up an afternoon tea or buffet.
During the countdown to your stay at the Long Barn, we’ll be in touch to check what your plans are and if we can help. We appreciate that organising a large group can be stressful, and we are here to help you every step of the way. We’re keen to support local producers and businesses as much as we can; we’re very lucky to have some of the best in Yorkshire close by. So our “little black book” of contacts and suppliers is open to you, to ensure you have the perfect stay at the Long Barn.