Local award-winning chef and patron of The Yorkshire Dales’ Clarendon Inn, Lionel Strub, is celebrating having found a new outlet for combining storytelling with culinary creativity having teamed up with much published author Neil Russell-Jones which combines amazing tales written by Neil with recipes from around the world brought to life by Lionel in ‘The Dining Club of Interesting Occurrences’.
Existing as a unique blend of both novel and recipe book, ‘The Dining Club of Interesting Occurrences’, features a cast of professionals from all walks of life who come together as a dining club to enjoy storytelling of global escapades and complimentary culinary experiences. The book comprises a set of short stories spanning horror, adventure, comedy, and mystery, which are based on real conversations that have taken place - with the focus being on extraordinariness. Each story is then matched with a food theme, which Lionel has formed into colourful and creative recipes, perfectly crafted to reflect the theme of each story such as a particular geographical / culinary topic – which is followed by the menu that together span the globe – e.g. Cornish, Central Asian, Caribbean etc., then the recipes for the food on offer during the story telling are given including the preparation time, cooking time, difficulty, ingredients, method and chef’s tips.
Drawing on Lionel’s many years as a world-class chef, the recipes are accessible to everyone, requiring no special equipment or expertise and readers are also provided with the chance to experience Lionel’s culinary skills firsthand as one chapter requires the reader to crack a code – with a prize of dinner for two and an overnight stay at the Clarendon Inn.
Lionel said, “This has been a really fun project for me. The concept for this book is so fresh and it’s been a joy to bring some added colour and flavour through my recipes… but trust me there is already plenty of all that in the stories themselves - this book most certainly entertains on all levels, and to me that’s a job well done!”
Although a native of France, Lionel, 56, now based in Hebden, North Yorkshire, has a great affection for the County having lived here for the past thirty years. Classically trained, he graduated from Ecole Hoteliere de Strasbourg in 1982 followed by three years at Le Restaurant des Vannes in Liverdun, an acclaimed two Michelin star restaurant with head chef Jean Pierre Cotard. In 1986, Lionel moved to London and worked in a number of brasseries and restaurants before relocating to Yorkshire in 1989 to work at ‘La Grillade’ in Leeds. A period of lecturing at catering college followed, and in 2001 Lionel acquired the Fig and Fennel delicatessen in Wetherby. Continued growth saw the launch of The Fennel restaurant in 2004, featuring popular dishes such as Lionel’s Posh Pie and Peas - using Alsace duck confit, wild mushroom, foie gras and truffle wrapped in hot water pastry accompanied by mushy garden peas, it was a unique take on the traditional Yorkshire favourite. In 2010 Lionel opened Mirabelle – a French brasserie in Harrogate, and more recently acquired The Clarendon an award-winning rural pub with rooms in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
Lionel has gained many accolades for his cooking including, Professional Chef of the Year, semi-finalist of the National Chef of the Year two years running, Best Rural Pub of the Year and the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award. He is now on the leadership team of the Disciples of Escoffier.