Derek is famous locally and nationally for his 14 years as Head Chef at Willerby Manor and 16 years as Chef Patron at The Manor House, Walkington, sadly long-gone but at the time ‘worth driving a hundred miles miles for’ according to BBC Radio 4’s late food critic Derek Cooper. He’s trained at least three famous chefs, two who have won ‘gongs’ and one who now runs a restaurant in Manchester with 87 staff! He has a life-time of memories and great stories which he has committed to paper in a book which will entertain and amuse you and is well worth £10, every penny of which is going to the Daisy Appeal.
Derek never got a ‘gong’ or a Michelin Star, but he did create a venue which, at that time, according to Roy Woodcock, who has written the Foreword, was a ‘culinary oasis in a gastronomic desert.’
Derek is not a Yorkshireman - he was brought up in North Wales - but his lifetime ambition was to become a chef. His journey began when he passed enough O-levels to gain a place at Llandudno Hotel School, working as a commis waiter at the Imperial Hotel at weekends. He remembers serving Sir Anthony Eden with vegetables one year! After that he worked at the Palace Hotel in Buxton where he met the Harlem Globetrotters and then, after multiple applications, he arrived at The Dorchester, London, where he rubbed shoulders with many famous (and infamous) people.
Once Derek had arrived in East Yorkshire, as a senior lecturer at Hull College of Technology, then transforming the Nag’s Head at Routh before becoming MD at Willerby Manor and finally moving to The Manor House, he found it impossible to move away.
Now enjoying well-earnt retirement, playing lots of golf and enjoying the company of some of the many interesting people he has met over the years, he has, from memory, written ‘Memories of a Dorchester Chef and Beyond’.
The book is available from Cerutti 2, Beverley Golf Club Pro-Shop and The Hotham Arms. It is due to be officially launched on September 30th at a champagne luncheon at Tickton Grange along with Paul Whymant’s book ‘A Poem to Inspire’ written to support cancer sufferers and sold in aid of Macmillan.
The back cover asserts the book is ‘Unmissable!!!’. And you know, it is!