Sweet Success

Words by
Lee Cassanell

27th April 2022

Chef Tommy Banks turns to Yorkshire ingredients for an innovative, umami-laden partner to Rémy Martin XO

A proud Yorkhireman, third-generation farmer’s son and two-time Great British Menu winner, chef Tommy Banks started his career in food at the tender age of 17. Entirely self-taught, he took over his family-owned pub The Black Swan as head chef in 2012. The following year, the restaurant retained its star, making Banks Britain’s youngest Michelin-starred chef — and in 2021 it scooped a coveted Michelin Green Star for its commitment to sustainable practices (that same year, Roots, a sister restaurant in York opened by Banks, was also awarded a star).

Rémy Martin’s collaboration with this talented chef was sparked by its two-year global partnership with the Michelin Guide, sponsoring the Green Star category, connection sparked by the shared values and a mutual interest in sustainability. Banks also shares that passion. “Growing up on a small farm, sustainability is at the forefront of what I’m doing, from having as few food miles as possible to keeping everything super-local — also, utilising everything to its full potential.”

As part of his authentic, ingredient-led practice, the chef continues to use produce grown on the Banks family farm. Traditional methods are also essential, from foraging to preserving. “I care deeply about the land that we grow on as it gives a really unique flavour to everything we cook. Yorkshire is an incredible foodie county. We’ve got some of the best produce in the world."

Rémy Martin

Rémy Martin has enlisted the chef to create a bespoke, sustainable recipe to pair with Rémy Martin XO — no mean feat, given the opulent, many-layered nature of the spirit, which combines a plethora of aromatic notes as far-ranging as plum, candied orange and spice to cocoa bean, honey and ginger.

“The Cognac is incredibly complex. After tasting it, I realised that it needed really big, full flavours to match — one-dimensional cooking wouldn’t work,” Banks explains. “So I started with fermented barley, which we made miso out of. Acidity was needed, so I chose Yorkshire rhubarb, a phenomenal ingredient that’s only available for a few months. It’s really fresh and vibrant.”

Banks combined his ingredients into an innovative, umami-inspired dish that pairs perfectly with the XO. “You don’t often get umami in a dessert — it’s full, salty and rich in flavour — but it makes the madeleines pair perfectly with Rémy Martin XO,” he explains. “In three words, the recipe can be described as umami, sweetness and acidity — a real flavour bomb.”

Rémy Martin X0, £180 at Selfridges, selfridges.com

Miso Madeleines with Yorkshire Rhubarb Glaze



200g unsalted butter

3 large eggs (plus an additional egg white) 275g sugar

220g flour

100g barley miso

Rhubarb glaze

450ml fermented rhubarb juice 4tbsp sugar

4tbsp glucose

1tsp water


1 Pre-heat oven to 180oC (160oC fan) Prepare a madeleine tray by brushing it with melted butter and add a little flour to coat.

2 Make beurre noisette by melting the butter over medium heat. Stir for about four minutes until it boils and becomes opaque.

3 Turn the heat down and allow the butter to foam and the colour to turn darker, until you’ve reached a light-to-medium consistency and the butter solids start to caramelise. Remove from heat.

4 Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.

5 Fold in 150g flour slowly, a bit at a time. Mix in the barley miso

and cooled beurre noisette and continue to fold for about three minutes. Add remaining flour.

6 Leave to chill for at least an hour.

7 For the glaze, put glucose sugar and water in a pan over high heat until the mixture begins to foam. Add fermented rhubarb juice and reduce the mixture until it covers the back of a spoon, which will take about 10-15 minutes.

8 Add a large tablespoon of batter into your prepared madeleine tray and cook in the centre of the pre-heated oven for six minutes. While warm, brush over your glaze and serve.