Hospitality power couple, both York born but now both in Hebden Bridge, Poppy Cartwright and Matthew Shelton swapped careers in fashion design and antiques and art for running their own restaurant, Kitchen 91. What started in the basement of their home – and old weaver’s workhouse - as an intimate supper club is now located in a former butcher’s shop turned intimate dining space for 24 guests on the high street. Every Friday and Saturday evening chef Poppy, who is part Sicilian, and Matthew serve a five-course candlelit tasting menu that not only celebrates seasonality and Italian food at its best but is served on ceramics the pair, also keen potters, have made themselves.

Tell us a little about Kitchen 91

All our dishes are lovingly cooked with a fine balance between tradition and modern Italian with the menu changing according to the season – expect handmade tordellis to fresh stracciatella, served with tomato gel, semi dried tomatoes and carta di musica laminated with herbs. We have an open kitchen, so customers feel every part of it.

Food is an emotional language and our passion.

First dish you learned to cook?

Ragu and understanding what a sofrito was – how to infuse flavour into it, and the importance of using the best ingredients possible. My mum taught me this, passed down from my Sicilian grandmother. I have very fond memories of the smells coming from my grandmother's kitchen as a little girl.

Most vivid childhood food memory?

Poppy: A table covered with flour at my Sicilian grandmother’s house making pasta and pizza, and fruit picking with my mum to make wine – for her of course. I always knew we ate differently, but it wasn’t until I took an artichoke into college for lunch one day, that it dawned on me that my friends had never seen or tasted one before. I am lucky to have been given interesting food at such a young age and be taught how to forage and make fresh pasta.

Most memorable meal out?

In Paris, for our anniversary we visited Escargot. There is something romantic about French bistros – the decor and intimacy and age of the restaurant was mind blowing. Experience for us is as important as the food.

Favourite ingredient?

Parmesan, it’s in everything we make from pasta filling to parmesan foam, we couldn’t live without it. We are planning on visiting Parma Reggio Emilia to see how it is manufactured.

Your go-to snack?

We love pistachio nuts; the depth of flavour is fantastic, and the health benefits are endless.

If you weren't a chef, what would you be doing?

I am sure I would still be a fashion designer. It was a daunting to leave fashion behind, but the skills have transferred into something more fun and creative instead. The plus side is you get to converse with your customers. In fashion this never happened.

Your dream dinner guest?

Stefano Secchi, the chef and partner of Michelin starred Rezdôra in New York, renowned for his fresh pasta. He is an admirable chef and how he works with pasta, making his tordelli fresh every day, is incredible. He would be superb company, hopefully with lots of stories from Emilia Romagna in Italy where he trained.

What's your guilty food pleasure?

Fish finger sandwich, tartare sauce, lettuce and good bread - enough said!

Your Yorkshire food and drink hero?

Tommy Banks. His story is inspiring to us, having stepped into food with no prior knowledge. He has shown anything is possible with enough passion and determination.

Suppliers you love?

Goo cheese in Hebden Bridge. Andrew is an absolute cheese connoisseur and sources from excellent dairies in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire. He supplies the cheese course on our tasting menu. R & J Butchers in Ripon have always supported us even though we are a small enterprise. Their produce is the best you can find in the north. Hodgson Fish. They catch the best produce, care about sustainability and the quality is always excellent.

A hospitality industry person who inspires?

Angela Hartnett, Michelin star leading female chef. Angela, like me, was born in the UK but has a deep sense of Italian culinary spirit in her food. It's also great to see new emerging female chefs reaching the top of their game in the industry.

A place you love to eat?

Higher Ground in Manchester. The atmosphere is superb, and they champion excellent produce. Everything is cooked to perfection, and seasonality is important to them. We love how they cook on hot coals and felt inspired to explore this after our last visit.

A career highlight?

Opening the doors to the new restaurant. We had come so far and to own a place of our own was the best feeling in the world. To serve food off your own ceramics and to do justice for Italian food in the North is a dream come true. It’s also a nod to my grandmother and of course my mum. It is so wonderful to explain your story through food creatively.

What's next?

More educational experiences. We have been hosting artisan pasta making classes and life drawing, with an Italian supper, which has been a great success. We would like to extend this into ceramics and host a make your own dinner service class, as we are both potters.

We are also planning a private dining event for our loyal customers with a keen focus on shellfish and seafood. We will collaborate with our dear friend and talented chef Jessica Cullum who trained under Lisa Goodwin Allen at Northcote in Lancashire.

Poppy’s favourite dish

Burrata, poached langoustine, langoustine oil, heritage tomatoes, pickled shallots, dill and purple basil.

It's such a simple dish but for late spring there's nothing that compares, it's so fresh and in season! The star of the show is the creamy burrata laid over the langoustines which is a great marriage with shellfish. We use all the langoustine too from head to tail, by making a langoustine oil with the shells.

Great British Life: Burrata, poached langoustine, langoustine oil, heritage tomatoes, pickled shallots, dill and purple basil.Burrata, poached langoustine, langoustine oil, heritage tomatoes, pickled shallots, dill and purple basil. (Image: Our Kindred)