Parkinson Court 1955
Total Warrior Chefs


If you recall Susan’s blog entry from June, you will remember that members of our MEETinLEEDS catering team were participating in this year’s Leeds Total Warrior obstacle race on June 28th 2015. Our talented team of chefs and catering gurus traded their ‘whites’ for dirty overalls when taking part in this year’s Total Warrior challenge to raise money for charity.

Over 6,000 people took part in what has been described as “the pinnacle of obstacle racing” by ex-military personnel. The 30 obstacles consisting of swimming through 4ft of ice cold water, climbing 15ft walls, crawling under barbed wire through mud and leaping over flaming logs! Take a look at the video, below, to see exactly what happens in one of the toughest challenges in the country.

TOTAL WARRIOR LEEDS 2015 PROMO from Mike Pettyt on Vimeo.

“It means we got to see each other in a different light, outside of the workplace environment and that’s a great way to get to know each other better”

Taking on the challenge were a team of 8 MEETinLEEDS members.  “The exciting thing is the change in team dynamics” says Head Chef Marc Mottershead, “In the kitchen, I’m the boss, but for this course, Phil was in charge of the team.” The team, which they called “Hell’s Kitchen”, trained for three months before the main event by running 5 kilometres, three times every week. “It means we got to see each other in a different light, outside of the workplace environment and that’s a great way to get to know each other better” added Phil.

Hell’s Kitchen completed the gruelling course in 2 hours 53. The team’s initial goal was to raise £500, but amazingly they have more than doubled their target, raising over £1300 for Martin House Children’s Hospice!

Congratulations to our iron chefs and team for proving they are Total Warriors and helping to raise money for a worthy cause at the same time.

Fundraising, healthy team building through friendly competition and some role reversal: all in a day’s work for the team at MEETinLEEDS!

To find out more about the work our department does for charities please visit the Commercial and Campus Support Services website.

Find out more about Total Warrior here.

Summer Fair Marquee


More than 2000 of the world’s most knowledgeable medievalists descended on Leeds for the 21st annual International Medieval Congress at University of Leeds on 7-10 July 2014. It is the second time the event has been held on our campus, after many successful years at our former residence at Bodington Hall.

Travelling to Leeds from 57 countries, delegates took part in more than 1500 different talks and events, some of which were open to the public including a mock medieval village built in University Square. Here you could peruse and purchase the knee length leather boots that were very à la mode in the period, along metal-adorned horn trinkets, jewellery and many other types of handicraft.

The medieval village included historical demonstrations such as chain mail production, spinning, apothecary, falconry displays, musicians and a storyteller.

Knights-to-CameraA personal highlight was the “Battle of the Knights”; in which two valiant men donned armour weighing approximately 6 stone and traded blows with pollaxes in the afternoon heat, using techniques garnered from the circa 1400 French combat manual “Le jeu de la hache” (“The Play of the Axe” or “Axe Play”).

Ryan-and-Kes-3 Me and our KesI also had the honour of handling a European Kestrel, the species which found fame from the Ken Loach film “Kes”. Being from the same neck of the woods as young Billy Casper from the film, I felt that the Kestrel and I shared a bond of sorts, which can be seen as we both look at the camera in the same instant (right).

MEETinLEEDS’ event manager, Anthony Lowe said: “The Congress is a huge area of focus for our team every year and it continues to go from strength the strength.  This year we served around 3,000 meals a day with the refectory turned into a dining room and also served an authentic medieval feast, prepared in collaboration between the University Catering team and food historian Caroline Yeldham.”

When the time came for the catering team to whip up the medieval feast, cheese-stuffed eggs were among dishes on the menu. Other dishes included a lamb and kidney stew; not a million miles away from a Moroccan “Tagine”.

Marc Mottershead, Head Chef at University House, said the experience had been fascinating: “It’s not every day you get asked to recreate an authentic medieval feast.”


Marc-and-Axel Marc (left) with IMC Director Axel Muller

He added: “Instead of dull, uninspiring dishes, the recipes called for cloves and spices and really unusual combinations which are close to modern Middle Eastern cuisines. One of the biggest surprises was the recipe for Crespells, which turned out to be a medieval take on a doughnut!”

The International Medieval Congress is now Europe’s largest annual gathering in humanities; in the past 21 years, more than 21,000 papers have been presented to over 12,000 visitors, bringing more than £10 million into the city and surrounding areas.

It is always impressive to see such a large event make use of the wealth of facilities we are able to offer on campus, especially an event that had such a vibrant and friendly atmosphere. This was no doubt helped by the fact that the delegates got to stay in our high quality campus accommodation, make use of the many culinary talents of our Head Chef, wander around a medieval village and still get to the business-end of the event by attending inspirational conferences in our well-equipped meeting rooms.

Marc and Bev

A Masterclass with Our Top Chef

Missing Masterchef? Bored of Fish and Chips? Want to impress your friends with an unctuous dessert but don’t know your mille-feuille from your macaroons? Don’t despair; we have the head chef Marc Mottershead on hand to guide you through two simple yet delicious recipes from his extensive repertoire.


A winning team for years to come- Marc and Bev in 1995 (left) and today (right)

Marc has worked as head chef at University House since 1995, preparing and serving the finest locally sourced ingredients to an array of stars and celebrated alumni: Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Melvyn Bragg and the Olympic-winning Brownlee brothers to name but a few. Our Head of Catering and Conferences, Bev Kenny, can still remember the menu that Marc served up in the Invention Test” of his interview (his Lemon Tart was to die for”). His longevity is a testament to his skill and ability to create menus that are classic yet contemporary, catering to any delegates’ dietary requirements.

The seven rooms at University House have recently been refurbished with a contemporary decor and are extremely flexible; ideal for VIP meetings, formal sit down meals and receptions.

The standard of the rooms and high level of customer service, linked to superb catering, have given the venue a first-class reputation.

Marc may be a Manchester United fan (not so much these days”, he says, and you can see why), but we won’t hold that against him when he gifts us recipes like the two below on a regular basis. So when your parents/in-laws/friends/spouses/colleagues/guests on Come Dine with Me run out of superlatives for your culinary creations, you will know who to thank. But don’t be afraid to take the accolades and credit, after all, you did the leg work.

Grilled Sea Bass with Sauce Vierge

Perfect for the Indian Spring” we are having at the moment, enjoy with a good Sauvignon Blanc and good company. Serves 4.

Cooking time: 30 mins


50g melted Butter
4 Sustainably Sourced Sea Bass Fillets
100g seeded and finely chopped Cherry Tomatoes
2 tsp Capers
Juice of ½ Fairtrade Lemon
1 finely chopped Shallot (Red Onion can be used as alternative)
100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Good handful torn Basil and chopped Chives to garnish

  1. Line a grill pan with foil and brush lightly with butter. Brush the Sea Bass with butter and season. Lay on the foil skin-side up.
  2. Put the tomatoes and shallot (or onion) in a pan with the capers, lemon juice and oil. Season.
  3. Grill the Sea Bass for 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness of the fillets) under a hot grill until just cooked and the skin is starting to brown. Meanwhile, warm the sauce through for 2 minutes then stir in half of the torn basil leaves. Lift the Bass onto warmed plates using a fish slice and spoon over the sauce. Serve with steamed new potatoes, dressed with a little butter and the remaining basil and chives. Season and serve.

Chef’s top tip: when you have chopped onions, garlic or hot peppers, wash your hands with cold water, rather than hot. This will stop the flavour cooking” onto your hands and intensifying the smell.

Super Gooey Chocolate Brownie

Everybody claims to have the perfect Brownie recipe; well we have the best of the best. This is perfect for birthday parties or as a dessert to the Sea Bass (serve with mascarpone ice-cream). But its best kept for a lazy weekend with nothing to do but make coffee and watch box sets. Serves 12 greedy people with healthy appetites and a sweet tooth.

Cooking time: 50 mins


350g Caster Sugar
6 Eggs
350g melted Butter
125g best Cocoa Powder, sieved
125g sieved Flour
350g dark Fairtrade Chocolate
100g chopped Hazelnuts (or any nut that tickles your fancy)
100g White Chocolate, broken into chunks

  1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk. Gradually add the caster sugar and whisk until combined. Then add the melted butter and again whisk until combined.
  2. Continuing to whisk the mixture, steadily add the flour and cocoa. Ensure that you do not add too much at once or the mixture will become lumpy.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or in the microwave (check regularly if using the microwave as you do not want the chocolate to burn). Stir this into the mixture.
  4. Add the nuts and white chocolate and stir through for an even distribution. Transfer to a large baking tray (around 40x25x4cm) or several smaller trays which have been lined with greaseproof paper, smoothing the mixture into the corners of the tray with a spatula.
  5. Cook at gas mark 5 (180-190 Celsius) for 30 minutes. Pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tray. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in. You want the centre to bee moist and gooey but not wet, so there will be a glossy crust”. If it is not fully cooked allow up to 10 more minutes, checking after 5.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tray. Slice while still in the tray, remove and transfer to an airtight container.

Chef’s top tip: If you want to make some to hide away for a special occasion, it’s useful to know that they’ll keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.

To make a booking at University House you can contact one of our event organisers:

We will be happy to help you with your enquiry.