The Blue Lion chef Jon Appleby shows Middlesbrough College trainees that partridge is just as easy to cook as chicken!

The Blue Lion in East Witton near Leyburn, famous for its game dishes, is celebrating Great British Game Week (19-25 November) by inviting trainee chefs from Middlesbrough College to learn how to prepare and cook partridge, including a visit to the Yorkshire Dales to see their natural habitat, before finally sitting down to sample their own dish.

The trainees, including: Jade Clough; Sarah Hamilton; Joseph Metcalf; and Ryan Badham, watched and worked alongside The Blue Lions chef, Jon Appleby, also from Middlesbrough, who passed on his skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for cooking game.

“It’s so important for our trainees to get first-hand experience of cooking with locally sourced ingredients by a professional chef in a professional kitchen,” explained Molly Shaher, Curriculum Team Leader from Middlesbrough College. “Creativity is crucial to this industry and new chefs must be open to incorporating new food items into their recipes, and updating old ones, so we are delighted that The Blue Lion have asked some of our degree students to gain knowledge, inspiration and experience of cooking game.”

Partridge is one of the healthiest meats being very low in fat and cholesterol, containing no saturated fatty acids, and also high in iron, selenium and zinc.   The meat is known for its distinct flavour that comes from being harvested from natural landscapes such as The Yorkshire Dales.

The Blue Lion, originally built as a shooting Lodge before evolving into a coaching inn in 1840, has game at the heart of its beginnings.   Although Jon does not hunt game himself, he and The Blue Lion appreciate that eating food that is locally sourced and in season should be celebrated. They regularly have game on their menu that attracts a loyal customer base, including well-known figures.

‘Many people don’t think of cooking game at home but when you eat food that is in season and accessible it becomes affordable and partridge can be bought for less than the price of a chicken,’ explains Jon. “I appreciate that from a chef’s perspective we get excited about cooking locally sourced ingredients but it is truly an honour to cook native ingredients in a place that is steeped in history.   I just love this area and showcasing its offerings to the next generation of chefs today has been a privilege.”

The trainees enjoyed the day learning about the importance of using locally sourced sustainable ingredients, and visiting the Dales where the partridge was sourced, whilst also gaining first hand experience how to prepare and cook it.   Jon will also be visiting Middlesbrough College before Christmas to teach a larger group of trainee chefs how to prepare and cook venison.

To sample first hand the game dishes at The Blue Lion at East Witton please book at a table online at or call 01969 624273.

The recipe can be found under partridge on the recipe page



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