Duke of Wellington Leeds: Meet the new head chef at the East Keswick pub which has reopened to rave reviews

Away from the bustle of Leeds city centre, the Duke of Wellington is a cosy village pub nestled in the Yorkshire countryside.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 11:45 am

For its head chef Josh Garrick, the quieter way of life and friendly customers in East Keswick are a welcome change from the hectic pace of some of his previous roles.

The Duke of Wellington reopened in May under new owners John and Amy Lock.

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Josh Garrick is the new head chef at the Duke of Wellington pub in East Keswick, which has reopened to rave reviews

Josh has known John for more than a decade, and joining him to restore the pub's popularity in the village was a welcome opportunity.

“The reason I enjoy my job here is that it’s a little quieter, it’s out in the country," Josh, of Ireland Wood, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"We’re getting the work-life balance back for people in the industry - we’re doing four-day weeks, which is really important.

“The biggest challenges at the moment are staffing issues, there’s a huge shortage in the country.

Josh has enjoyed crafting the Duke of Wellington's menu with a focus on using fresh ingredients and sustainable methods

"That all ties into it - the industry expects people to work ridiculous hours and during the pandemic, people have now realised they can have a better work-life balance. There’s a huge scope for that conversation.”

After missing out on the furlough scheme by one day when the pandemic hit, Josh went from being a busy senior chef to delivering parcels during the first lockdown to make ends meet.

Now back doing what he loves, Josh has enjoyed crafting the Duke of Wellington's menu with a focus on using fresh ingredients and sustainable methods.

The 29-year-old added: “I’ve known John for about 10 years, so when he approached me I jumped at the chance. I’ve got my own team and my own menu, it's my little bubble.

"We’re slowly getting busier every week which is nice and once you get to Christmas - that’s when you get your customer base."

The pub's food offering is centred around a small core menu - about six starters, six sharers, 12 main courses and six desserts - with daily specials giving customers variety every time they come in.

Josh's menu has received rave reviews on Tripadvisor, Facebook and Google since the pub reopened and he has enjoyed getting to know the locals.

“We’ve had really good feedback which is progressively getting better," Josh added.

“We have fish specials on Fridays, meat specials on weekends and a great Sunday dinner which we try to make gluten free.

“One of our recent specials was monkfish tails with lobster bisque and crispy new potatoes, and I went old-school last week and did lobster thermidor.

"It’s high-quality pub food, trying to put a twist on modern classics and bring them up to date."

The Duke of Wellington team has been working with local businesses and suppliers to cement its place as a core part of the village.

Josh added: “I think you’ve got to support the local businesses more than the big fish. And when you have high-quality produce coming in, your end product is always going to be better."

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