Leeds restaurants: Meet the 25-year-old chef behind Brontae's in Horsforth which has opened to glowing reviews
Leeds chef Dale Spink set his sights on opening a restaurant of his own when he was just 13 years old.
After discovering a natural talent for cooking during work experience, he trained on-the-job when he was still a teenager, carving out a successful career as a chef.
He honed his craft at some of Yorkshire's finest establishments, including La Rue in Saltaire, Oulton Hall and the Golden Fleece in Birkenshaw, before launching two successful catering businesses.
But those achievements were all just stepping stones to bring Dale's restaurant to life - something he's now achieved at the tender age of 25 as he opens Brontaè's in Horsforth.
"I got the bug for cooking when I was on work experience," Dale, of Farsley, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"I remember saying to the sous chef Ben, who works for me now, that I wanted my own place one day.
“It wasn’t a matter of ‘I want’, it was ‘I will’.”
Dale's vision for Brontaè's, named after his 19-month-old daughter, is that it will transform the catering industry and dining experience in Leeds.
The minimalist decor lets the food do the talking; there's a simple menu filled with British classics, such as the duo of beef with burnt onion, butternut squash, leeks, beetroot and potato fondant, and the B's Homemade Burger with cheese panna cotta, house relish, salad and chunky chips.
An open kitchen gives diners a full view of Dale and his team as they cook the food to order, something that was important for the young chef to incorporate in his restaurant.
"I want the chefs to be involved, that’s why we created a theatre kitchen," Dale added.
“I worked in the back of a kitchen for so many years and all you got was the negative side of things. We’re taking on apprentices and when they make a nice dish - they go and serve the customer. They can be proud of the dish and own it.
“Chef’s cook to impress, that’s why we do what we do. It’s not for the money or the good hours, because that isn’t there. It's for the love and satisfaction.
“I wanted to revitalise the industry for the people working in it."
Dale has been working non-stop as he navigates the challenges of launching a restaurant in the pandemic.
But the overwhelmingly positive response from his new customers has made it all worthwhile; Brontae's has been flooded with glowing TripAdvisor and Facebook reviews.
Dale said: “When you’re heads down and you’re getting through service - you don’t think about any problems you have outside of work.
“You’re focused on that next plate, that next dish, and the customer having the best experience.
“There’s a brotherhood of chefs and I know my team has got my back. That team spirit gets you through it.
“I want to bring happiness to people. Food is happiness, it’s that special moment for families to get around a table and appreciate each other.
“We all live in a society where you’re trying to impress everyone else, but when you’re sat down in front of someone you love - that’s what matters.
"I want to say a huge thank you for everyone who has been a part of this journey."
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