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Home is where the heart, grit and determination is!

HOME: Where the heart, grit and determination is. The Leeds-based restaurant that survived a pandemic and came out stronger

Like most UK businesses, Elizabeth Cottam’s HOME was forced to close its doors back in March when the nationwide lockdown began. But this measure was in no way a permanent one for the Leeds City Centre fine dining restaurant. For Liz and her team, it posed an opportunity to come back stronger; to spend time creating and innovating in the kitchen and preparing for their inevitable return to a new dining out landscape.

Owner and Chef Patron Elizabeth Cottam
To celebrate HOME’s third anniversary this week, Owner and Chef Patron Elizabeth Cottam reflects on her experience of running a successful restaurant business during a pandemic.

Now, HOME’s doors are once again back open, bookings are flying in and the restaurant is celebrating its third year of serving relaxed, informal fine dining, despite being closed for months. But how did they do it? What kind of resilience is needed for a business in the hospitality sector to not only survive during a pandemic, but to really thrive?

Elizabeth Cottam, owner and chef at HOME restaurant commented:

“One thing about running a restaurant is that you have to get really good at responding to whatever comes your way. It’s the nature of the beast that no two days are the same so once we got over the shock of what was happening, we were pretty well schooled to adapt to our circumstances. A lot of people in business fear change, but evolution is my philosophy and is the very reason I was first drawn to this industry. I know that we’ll never really be ‘done’ here at HOME; our dishes are ever-evolving and developing and so are our people and as we well know, the world around us too. We choose to embrace it.”

“One thing that has remained a constant for me though, is my passion for my home county, Yorkshire. Humans fascinate me and none more so than my fellow Yorkshire folk. Our tough and gritty Yorkshire spirit has got me through many a tough moment in my life (and into a few too), and now more than ever, this determination has really willed me on to power through these uncertain times. Creatively, I look to my surrounding landscapes and environments for inspiration. That might be a gnarly countryside stone cove, lush, rolling hills or rain soaked Yorkshire flagstones in Leeds city centre, we have so much real and raw beauty around us it’s hard not to let it influence me.”

HOME's new innovative deconstructed Yorkshire Pudding dish
Every familiar flavour of Yorkshire, presented as a quintessential fell walk across the moors.

This reconstruction of the most iconic Yorkshire dish, the Yorkshire pudding, available on HOME’s brand new Sunday menu, is just a taste of what’s in store with the restaurant’s new chapter.

Elizabeth continued: “I know that my best dish is yet to come – it’s this thought that motivates me to keep on challenging myself and the team every single day so that we can continue to surpass our guests’ expectations. I  said that 2020 was going to be our year and I haven’t let the pandemic change that notion – if anything, it’s given me even more motivation!”

sunflower and chive hummus
Sunflower and chive ‘hummus’ with onion is a playful interpretation of the famous sour cream and chive potato chips. Served on pebbles from Elizabeth’s favourite place, the Yorkshire coastal village of Robin Hood’s Bay. 

Situated in the heart of Leeds’ City Centre, HOME Restaurant offers relaxed, informal fine dining. Led by Chef Patron Liz Cottam, she and her team curate an ever-changing and spontaneous collection of eight to ten course menus from Wednesday through to Sunday, served with perfectly paired wine flights. Reservations are now open up until November 2020 to try their latest innovative menus.

For more details and to check availability, please visit: www.homeleeds.co.uk

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