Leeds MasterChef quarter-finalist to open Christmas tipi pop-up restaurant

The former Leeds biology teacher has teamed up with another former contestant from West Yorkshire for the ten-day tipi takeover

Leeds MasterChef quarter-finalist Jo Mills has revealed plans to open a festive pop-up restaurant alongside fellow West Yorkshire contestant Chris Hale this Christmas.

Opening inside the Tipi Lounge at the Cedar Court Hotel across two weekends in December, diners can look forward to special festive fusion tapas, afternoon teas, and bottomless brunches throughout the pop-up’s ten-day run.

The purpose-built Tipi sits in the grounds of the grand hotel and is fully heated, and boasts a roaring open fire as well as plenty of cosy blankets – so there’s no chance of you getting chilly.

Whilst the pair did not compete in the same series, they connected through a Facebook group for former Masterchef contestants.

Chris Hale, who appeared on the show in 2016, already has a successful catering business where he runs pop-up restaurants. Jo, a former Biology teacher from Garforth, is keen to learn from his experience, saying “working together has been a lot of fun.”

2021 Leeds contestant Jo Mills has been building her own food business, having reached the quarter-finals in this year’s show / Image: Mrs Mills Cooks MasterChef 2021

2021 contestant Jo has also been building her own food business, having reached the same stage in the competition as Chris – with both making it to the quarter-finals.

The mum of two retired early from teaching around three years ago, before taking the plunge onto MasterChef this year.

A self-taught chef who has always been passionate about food, during the lockdown she dedicated a lot of her time to improving her skills in the kitchen – and now she’s moving on to her next chapter.

Drinks-wise, the hotel has partnered with a host of local distilleries and microbreweries to offer a ‘taste of Yorkshire in a glass’ inside the Christmas tipi.

Think plenty of gin and locally-brewed beer for that authentic Yorkshire experience, accompanied by a selection of festive small plates, tiny cakes, sandwiches, and brunches – depending on when you pay them a visit.

Running from 9 to 19 December, afternoon tea will be served from Monday to Wednesday; festive fusion tapas from 2pm to 10pm Thursday to Saturday, and bottomless brunch on Sunday.

Feature image – Cedar Court Hotel Harrogate

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