Doncaster’s prestigious St Leger Festival is galloping into gourmet cuisine ... thanks to a gamble by Sheffield’s only Michelin-starred chef.
Tessa Bramley, holder of a Michelin star for 10 years, is taking the entire team from her highly-respected restaurant, the Old Vicarage at Ridgeway, to set up a pop-up restaurant like no other.
A racing fan since childhood, she will launch the highly exclusive Ladbrokes St. Leger Platinum Club on Friday, September 9, believed to be the most exclusive fine dining experience in horse-racing,
Tessa will be presenting a five-course, silver service lunch and afternoon tea. Her team’s temporary home will be the racecourse’s former weighing room, a stunning, restored period building adorned with saddle racks and racing silks.
Just 60 guests can expect liveried staff, exquisite Yorkshire food married with wines and champagnes from The Old Vicarage’s cellars, a visiting tipster and table service tote – for £250 a head.
Mark Spincer, managing rirector at Doncaster Racecourse says: “We are bringing together one of Yorkshire’s biggest and best sporting events and one of Yorkshire’s finest chefs. It’s a historic moment for Doncaster.
Says Tessa, one of only five female chefs in the UK to hold a coveted Michelin star: “I came up with the idea because it seemed the perfect recipe – having my Michelin chefs at the oldest classic race meeting in the world.
“I love racing and the St Leger in particular. I have wonderful childhood memories of going to the St Leger with my father and grandad, There was such a fabulous atmosphere. I was too young to bet but my money went on little gold bars of Doncaster butterscotch and bags of Pontefract cakes.”
Both flavours will be incorporated into Platinum Club dishes, although Gleadless-born Tessa is keeping the rest of the menu under wraps.
The Old Vicarage, ranked in the The Good Food Guide’s UK top 40 for over 20 years, will close for the day. “There was no way we could split ourselves in two,” she explains.
“I’ll be arriving at dawn to start making my breads and cakes. But I’m not going to miss out on the racing. I’ll be sneaking out to place a few bets and soak up the atmosphere. I don’t get to dress up, though – I’ll be in my chef’s whites!”