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Caterersearch.com 100: Andrew Pern

01 July 2010
Caterersearch.com 100: Andrew Pern

Overall ranking: 87

Chef ranking: 26

Andrew Pern - Snapshot

Andrew Pern is the chef-proprietor of the 34-seat Star Inn at Harome, near Helmsley in North Yorkshire, where business partner and now estranged wife, Jacquie, looks after the bar and front of house. It is currently one of just 10 pubs in the UK to hold a Michelin star. The Perns have built up a thriving business in Yorkshire that includes the Pheasant hotel, just 200 yards from the Star Inn, an upmarket tearoom at Scampston, and a gourmet village shop and deli. They also ran a butcher's shop in Helmsley, but that was sold to a local baker in June 2010.

Andrew Pern - Career guide

Andrew Pern was born in the Esk Valley in North Yorkshire. He spent three years at Scarborough Technical College before joining the 11-bedroom Milburn Arms hotel at Rosedale Abbey in North Yorkshire, where he was promoted to head chef at the age of 22.

It was here that he met his wife, Jacquie, who was manageress of the hotel. The couple struck out on their own when they bought the 14th-century Star Inn in June 1996, and they remain business partners despite having separated. The Star Inn gained a Michelin star in 2002.

In 2004 the couple opened the Star at Scampston, an upmarket tearoom at a mini-stately home with public gardens that has a purpose-built kitchen for cookery demonstrations and courses.

In December that year the Perns added a nearby butcher's shop to their business. Called Perns of Helmsley, it served meats, Neal's Yard cheeses and deli items. They sold the business to a local baker, John Thomas, in June 2010.

2006 - the 10th anniversary of the Perns' enterprise - brought a new addition to their mini-empire in the form of the Farmhouse, which had served as home to the couple and their four children for two years. From October, the family-friendly four-bedroom accommodation opened to guests with the promise of their own personal on-site chef from the Pern brigade.

In February 2009 the Perns invested £1.3m in the Pheasant hotel, which is just 200 yards away from the Star Inn. They took on the 15-bedroom hotel following the retirement of the Binks family, who had run the property since 1984.

Andrew Pern - What we think

Andrew Pern is a largely self-taught chef whose hearty northern dishes have been influenced by Paul Heathcote, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White.

When he was in his early 20s, Pern idolised White. "In his former days he had three Michelin stars, and the cooking he did then and the cooking we ate then was amazing," he told the BBC in 2008. "We used to save up all our tips and wages and travel to London to eat there. We learnt that way. The food Marco did then was absolutely amazing - it still is."

Pern is a keen champion of local and British produce, and his style is characterised by the juxtaposition of cheap and refined ingredients, such as foie gras with black pudding.

The Star has enjoyed phenomenal success over the years, including the collection of three Cateys

They were followed by the Good Pub Guide Pub of the Year and the Which? Good Hotel Guide Newcomer of the Year awards in 2004 and the Egon RonayGastropub of the Year accolade in 2005. In 2006 Pern was named Best Chef at the inaugural Northern Hospitality Awards and, a year later, the Star Inn won the Taste of England Award in the annual Enjoy England Awards for Excellence.

However, it's not been plain sailing for Pern in recent months. The Star Inn was voluntarily closed for a week in November 2009 after more than 80 diners and several members of staff fell ill with the winter vomiting bug and, in June 2010, a 26-year-old man was arrested after a junior chef formerly employed at the pub alleged he had been assaulted while working there.

But, as one of the handful of pubs in the UK with a Michelin star, challenging times will not stop Pern successfully balancing the contrasts of high-end food and local community pub.

"I'm not a landlord, I'm a chef through and through," he told Caterer earlier this year. "But like most chefs, I enjoy a pint or two. A pub is a lot more easy-going."

Andrew Pern - Further information

Owners of Michelin-starred Star Inn invest £1.3m in Pheasant Hotel >>

Norovirus closes Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome >>

Michelin-starred pubs - local stars >>

A star in Harome! >>

www.caterersearch.com/Articles/Article.aspx?liArticleID=334097">http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/Article.aspx?liArticleID=334097" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Read more about the Caterersearch.com 100, the list of the most influential people, here >>

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