Sam Houston’s
36 Water Street, Skipton. Tel: (01756) 794747

While many young boys play with train sets, Jamie Rose preferred to set up restaurants.

“I would draw up little menus, make the meal and then serve it to my parents,” he says. “It was great fun.”

Two decades on, and Jamie, 31, is still drawing up menus – only now it is for real, in his role as head chef at a recently revamped restaurant.

Jamie, 31, runs the kitchen at Sam Houston’s Tex Mex bar and restaurant in Water Street, Skipton, where he has introduced a new menu.

“It is very exciting. The food is different and there’s a great atmosphere. We are a popular choice for hen nights and parties, so it’s always lively.”

New owner Neil Pickles, who owns the award-winning Old White Bear in Crosshills, has injected new life into the eatery, which takes its name from the famous Texan general and statesman. The restaurant reopened yesterday, with new decor and meals created on the premises using fresh produce.

“All the food is cooked from fresh, right down to cutting and cooking our own tortilla chips,” says Jamie, who rustles up traditional Texan and Mexican fare, including the marinated chicken dish jambalaya, steak burgers, enchiladas, burritos and the Mexican sandwich quesadilla – a filled flour tortilla with cheese.

Imaginatively-named children’s dishes include ‘Two amigos’ – a Tex Mex selection to share – and cheese and sweet jalapeno bullets.

Despite his early passion for cooking, Jamie – who grew up in Yeadon – did not enter the profession from school. “I started work as a roofer, but I didn’t have a head for heights,” he says. “One day we had a job repairing a church roof, and I thought ‘this is not for me’.”

His thoughts turned to cooking. “I found a job as a commis chef at The Stansfield Arms in Apperley Bridge, and on the first day I helped with 200 covers. I loved it, and knew straight away it was the right career for me.”

Jamie enrolled on a formal training course at Thomas Danby College in Leeds, attending on day release. He stayed at the historic pub for four years, being promoted to sous chef before leaving to work in Leeds city centre.

“I wanted more experience, so I worked in bars for a while, then moved to hotels, and later back to restaurants,” he says.

He has worked at premier Leeds hotels, including Weetwood Hall and The Village, and at The Roux restaurant.

“Each job taught me something new. I’m still learning now; you never stop in this profession.”

Jamie is working alongside a newly-appointed South American chef. “It will be great to have him at the restaurant, with his experience,” he says.

On days off, Jamie, who lives in Bradford city centre, spends time with his six-year-old daughter, Macie, and girlfriend Samantha. “We eat out quite a lot, which gives me a rest.”