Cooking up a storm: Chefs to lead gourmet tribute to Captain Cook in the summer

Whitby chef Andrew Pern will be one of the chefs taking part. Inset, Captain Cook.
Whitby chef Andrew Pern will be one of the chefs taking part. Inset, Captain Cook.

A gourmet tribute to Captain Cook, inspired by the ingredients that fuelled his voyages, will be served up by 10 of the UK’s top chefs during a new festival honouring James Cook’s first journey of discovery 250 years ago.

Whitby’s Captain Cook Festival will see two days of live cooking action, on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July, as the chefs take on the challenge of cooking up a new world of flavours as part of the Yorkshire Coast’s 250th anniversary celebrations for local lad turned world’s greatest explorer.

The cooks all share James Cook’s taste for adventure, so the menus promise to be as pioneering as Cook himself, combining exotic fruits, 18th-century seafaring staples like salt pork, hard tack and rum, and fresh seafood, which sailors enjoyed in abundance on long voyages – and for which the Yorkshire Coast is world-famous.

“During live demos in Cook’s Kitchen, the cooks have been asked to create a world-class feast for Captain Cook – not just a world explorer, but an explorer of world cuisine. Like Cook, the festival’s cooks have strong personal connections with the Yorkshire Coast and are passionate about its local produce, many of them abandoning global careers to open up restaurants locally. So, Cook’s Kitchen is also a celebration of the region’s very exciting and vibrant foodie scene,” explains Janet Deacon, tourism and corporate marketing manager for Scarborough Borough Council and area director for Welcome To Yorkshire.

The line-up for Cook’s Kitchen Food Theatre includes: Michelin-starred chef Andrew Pern, who opened The Star Inn The Harbour last summer. He’s joined by Matt Hunter, chef and operations director from Star Inn The City.

UK Sea-fish ambassador, TV chef and multi award-winning restaurateur Rob Green, who got his love for seafood in Whitby, where Captain Cook got his love for the sea. He will be cooking fish fit for the captain’s table, including local lobster and oysters, with an accompaniment of ship’s biscuit. And 18th century expert and sailor, Captain Malcolm Nicholson, owner of the tall ship HMS Pickle will recreate the ‘Battle of Trafalgar Dinner’ in full period costume; his ship will be one of the main attractions at the Whitby Captain Cook Festival.

Cllr Andrew Jenkinson, portfolio holder for tourism, Scarborough Council said: “Captain Cook is an international icon, so we’re planning a world-class festival in Whitby to welcome visitors from across the globe.”

“Inspired by Cook and his voyages, the festival will showcase the very best of the Yorkshire Coast’s rich and vibrant culture – its food, music, art, maritime heritage.”

Visitors will be able to see the cooks in action, for free, in Cook’s Kitchen, on Endeavour Wharf, between 10.30am – 3.30pm, during Whitby’s Captain Cook Festival, which runs from 6–8 July.

It’s just one part of a packed programme of entertainment for the whole family, which includes spectacular tall ships, live music, street theatre and sea shanties, and a celebration firework display.

For more details about the festival visit www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com/whitby/Cook250.