Masterchef semi-finalist Liz Cottam to open gastropub inside Leeds Kirkgate Market

Masterchef semi-finalist Liz Cottam is to open a gastropub inside Leeds Kirkgate Market.

By Andrew Hutchinson
Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 2:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 3:27 pm
Liz Cottam.

The Owl will be located on Fish & Game Row in the oldest part of the ornate market building which dates back to 1875 and is due to open in the autumn.

The new eaterie will see four units transformed into one and has been named because of the remnants of stone-carved owls you can make out in the arches above.

It will focus on great beer in collaboration with Northern Monk (with many other taps of great beer on rotation), and will be one of the only places outside of London to offer fine wines on tap.

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An Owl test dish.

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Head chef and co-founder Liz Cottam said “I’ve wanted to do something in this amazing building for a long time. I was originally going to do one thing. But then I thought, if we want to actually push for some serious change, more is needed. So it seemed like a good idea to do as many things as possible - so there are lots of new reasons for people to go to the market. It would demonstrate a significant change.

"I’m extremely passionate about my region, my city and my market. For me the market is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. There’s nowhere like Yorkshire - it’s the most inspiring place. I’ve always thought that. I just don’t want to be anywhere else!”

Liz began her culinary journey on 2016’s Masterchef. She joined forces with fellow chef Mark Owens - who previously retained a Michelin star for Ilkley’s The Box Tree - to open HOME, in the city centre in August 2017.

Liz Cottam.

The pair plan to launch four disparate foodie concepts in Kirkgate Market this year.

Cottam and Owens’ plans aim to entice everybody - whether a frequent market goer, a Leeds shopper who has never set foot inside Kirkgate, or one of their existing fine-dining customers excited for more foodie ventures from the chefs behind HOME.

From informal nibbles to unique and exclusive chef’s table experiences, takeaway office lunch-on-the-go to champagne and oysters, coffee to crab pie - there will be something for everyone.

The team work very closely on HOME, and will continue to do so on these new additional concepts, but there will be one venture Liz will head up on her own.

The soon-to-be-announced concept will reveal host Elizabeth’s vision for a chef’s table-style, high-end, intimate dining experience.

They are hoping to bring more city centre visitors through the market giving it a real lease of life.

Coun Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment, Leeds City Council said: “We are thrilled that Liz Cottam has chosen Leeds Kirkgate Market as the location for her new venture.

"Our market is a hub for food lovers, from the wide variety of fresh ingredients to the expanse of exciting street food. This new concept will only enhance the current offer and will be a fantastic new addition to the market.”