house of tides

The ‘Chef for the Day’ experience at House of Tides is one culinary adventure not to be missed for all budding chefs and foodies alike. In Newcastle, the House of Tides needs no introduction, as it is the city’s only Michelin-starred restaurant. House of Tides opened its doors in 2014, and is headed up by celebrity chef Kenny Atkinson, whose bold and imaginative cooking has brought him critical acclaim and numerous awards including a Michelin star in 2008 and 2009, as well as holding three AA rosettes for ten years.

Arriving at the restaurant at 10am, I was greeted by head chef Danny Parker who talked me through the menu and the restaurant’s ethos, which is to serve astounding, creative cuisine in a relaxed and unpretentious setting. A tasting menu is available here, allowing diners to sample the breadth of the chef’s expertise in preparing Michelin-star quality gastronomy. Whilst the dishes on the menu look simple, each individual ingredient has been painstakingly sourced, relying on fresh, seasonal produce and cooked with passion and imagination.

With this in mind, I was soon kitted out in my very own branded apron and brought into the kitchen to meet the team and start cooking. Working my way around each section, I began in the garnishes section preparing vegetables. Next I was working at the snacks station, where I felt honoured to actually prepare and plate up a selection of amuse-bouche. Attention to detail was paramount here; each tiny morsel is placed with precision. Shifting from section to section, I was immersed in a fast-paced real life chef experience, learning how the team works seamlessly together.

house of tides

It was incredibly informative and hands-on, and needless to say the best part of my day was tasting the food! A simple oyster sourced from Shetland was garnished with a delicate cucumber and stem ginger relish, and topped with a tiny sprinkling of caviar and drizzled in tangy lemon oil. The result was incredible. The pungency of the lemon oil is due to the arduous and lengthy process of reducing kilos of lemons. In fact, every individual sauce and relish is made in a similar fashion, highlighting the intense flavours of high quality ingredients. As well as oysters, other snacks included tiny Highland haggis balls served with House of Tides own version of H.P sauce and creamy chicken liver parfait served in miniature ice cream cones and topped with crunchy, curry flavoured granola. After sampling these tasty snacks, I watched starters being plated up in awe, marveling at the artistry and precision of it all. A sliver of cured salmon was carefully placed off centre on the plate to allow for subsequent layers of other ingredients to follow, such as a tiny mound of white crab meat, a morsel of Jersey royal potato, a casually placed slice of radish and sorrel leaves placed here and there.

house of tides

Behind me, a sous chef was busy preparing a starter that looked like another work of art. Tiny dots of apple sauce topped with a half hazelnut were arranged in a sharp row following the lines of a neat cut of smoked pork and goose liver terrine. It pained me to watch this leave the kitchen as opposed to ending up in my stomach. That said, my hunger was soon abated when I was presented with another very welcome taster plate of sea bass served in a spring broth that contained the courgettes I had prepared earlier. Having experienced each section in the main kitchen, my day drew to a close in the pastry section in a different part of this lovely, historic building. Here I watched and learned the fine art of desserts, even having a go at plating up delicate layers of all things sugary and sweet (as well as trying the fabulous homemade ice creams). The day ended at around 3pm with yet another tasting of lamb and wild garlic back in the main kitchen, which was demolished very appreciatively.

Thanking the fabulous kitchen team for all their help and sharing of knowledge, I left still wearing my souvenir apron with a head full of culinary ideas and a belly full of gastronomic delights. The House of Tides ‘Chef for the Day’ experience is available from £150 for a half day. More information can be found here.

You can read our review of the House of Tides here, or check out our Tyne & Wear Food & Drink Guide below:

Louise Thody

Louise Thody

Louise is an experienced food writer, gastronaut, passionate cook and shameless booze snob. When she’s not waxing lyrical about artisanal food and drink, you might find her obsessing over music and her vinyl collection, exploring the globe and its culinary delights or burning off calories with her crazy cockapoo companion Tizzy.

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