ONE of Huddersfield’s best-known chefs is selling his restaurant – but already has a new venture planned for Huddersfield.
Pioneering Stephen Jackson is selling the Weavers Shed restaurant in Golcar after 17 years in charge.
The 40-year-old chef – who used locally-sourced food long before it became popular – plans to take on a less demanding role.
Stephen – who writes his own food column in the Examiner and will continue to do so – said: “After 17 years the lack of free evenings has finally taken its toll. You won’t find many chefs of my age working all the shifts. Gordon Ramsey certainly doesn’t – he just dabbles.
“It’s a young man’s game. I’ve decided I need a change of lifestyle and a little bit of my life back.”
The Weavers Shed, which has featured in the Good Food Guide, relies on locally-sourced food and produce from the kitchen garden.
Stephen and wife Tracy, 46, work long hours in the restaurant and B&B.
He said: “We live above the restaurant which means we have a fantastic commute of 10 seconds. But it means we’re never away from the business and the phone is always ringing.
“I start work at 10am and finish around 11pm with a few hours off in between. It’s a lot of time on your feet. There’s no real time to shut down – there’s always something to do.”
The couple will sell the Weavers Shed and open a much smaller business.
Stephen said: “We’re planning to start an upmarket cafe with the same high standard of home-grown and locally-sourced food. It will be the kind of place where people can sit down and have a quiche and a glass of wine.
“We’re still scouting for premises, but it will certainly be within Kirklees. It may be in Marsden, Slaithwaite or Huddersfield town centre.”
Stephen hopes a smaller business will be less of a grind.
He said: “I still love cooking and I love inventing a new dish, but making that dish 20 times a week is weighing me down. I’d love to wake up and think that I could make a coffee cake today without having to make another one the next day.”
Stephen was one of the youngest head chefs in Yorkshire when he took over at the Weavers Shed in 1993.
He said: “I was the boss and also the youngest member of staff so it was a steep learning curve. I’m glad I’ve had Tracy with me for the last 10 years. She’s been my eyes and ears at front of house.
“We’ve had the same core of staff since I started. Shirley Bramald has been waitressing here virtually every day for the last 30 years.”
Stephen added: “We have 10 staff and we’ll look to take some of them to the new place. Hopefully the new owner will keep one or two of them here as well.”
Stephen will cook for his customers at the Weavers Shed for the last time on May 1.
He said: “We’ve invited some of our regulars and I think it will be emotional for them.”