Brian Turner is Yorkshire’s most successful foodie export. He was born in the Halifax area, grew up in Morley, left for London at the age of 17 and went on to achieve the highest heights a chef can: michelin stars, restaurants aplenty, TV shows, a CBE, posts such as president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and other educational roles, and general notoriety as one of the country’s best chefs.
But food is not the only thing Brian loves. He also loves brass band music, which harks all the way back to the Morley Salvation Army Band when he was 12. He could turn his hand to a variety of instruments in the ensemble and carried on playing right up to the age of 30 with the Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band in London. He’s still a huge fan and just last week he was in the Albert Hall listening to 20 bands perform, and he listens to the music in his car.
This month he’ll be showing his support to the brass band genre as well as Yorkshire, as he takes the role of judge at the Brass Factor in Wetherby on October 31st. The competition is in its fifth year and gaining momentum.
While he was spreading the word about Brass Factor, I took the opportunity to quiz Brian about what he thinks of his beloved home county: “I get up there when I can. My favourite places to eat when I come to Yorkshire are warm pies from Wilsons Butchers and you can’t beat Yorkshire fish and chips.
“I am aware that Yorkshire now has lots of wonderful fine dining restaurants too such as at the Devonshire Arms and the Pipe and Glass. Up in Yorkshire there’s great produce and enthusiasm and it’s wonderful to see.”
So what does Brian Turner love the most about food? He says it’s all about local produce, seasonal ingredients and value for money. “Art on a plate is one thing but value for money is important and using proper cuts, such as stewing cuts, work best.”
Brian Turner’s Yorkshire Puddings
After recently asking James Martin about his secret to Yorkshire puddings, of course we had to ask Brian Turner too. He reveals he still uses his Gran’s recipe, which involves malt vinegar. He said: “I don’t think it really matters too much if the batter is rested or not, because it still works well when you’re making it in a rush. People who use my recipe will know I use a bit of malt vinegar for Yorkshire puddings, which my Gran used. I don’t know why and I’m not going to go start changing it now!”
> Brian Turner is currently filming for a new BBC show which is top secret and his Taste of Britain show is being repeated on BBC2 at the moment.
> There are two Brass Factor events this year: Engine Shed, Wetherby, October 31, Picturedrome, Holmfirth November 14. Tickets are available from Andrews in Holmfirth and online visit www.thebrassfactor.co.uk