Head chef of the Queens Arms in Litton, Ann Baker takes her turn in our series of features focusing on Craven’s best chefs

From as early as Ann Baker can remember, she has loved to cook. Becoming a chef was something she had always dreamt about while learning the basics from her grandmother.

“Nan was a huge influence on me,” said Ann. “From being a little girl she taught me to cook and I never wanted to do anything else. I still remember making scones with her.”

Ann is now able to put all she learned into practice as head chef at the award-winning Queens Arms in Litton. From preparing fresh game and meat provided by local farmers and gamekeepers, to churning her own delicious flavours of ice-cream, it is remarkable that Ann still finds time to come up with new dishes for the menu.

Following a move to the Yorkshire Dales seven years ago, Ann joined the team at The Queens Arms last year when the newly refurbished country inn re-opened. Very quickly she put her stamp on the menu and values her role as head chef.

“It is a joy to live and work in such a wonderful part of the world and to have such good quality ingredients on our doorstep is a real luxury. Cooking and food should be all about taste and quality and provenance and we have that here in abundance.

“I would say that I am a traditional and classical cook but I have a real passion for putting a twist on things and love to experiment, and I think that the two styles sit well together on any menu.”

One of the Queens Arms best sellers is a belly pork dish cooking the meat in cider or another favourite is the beef, Black Sheep and smoked bacon pie – a classic recipe but adding something slightly different.

Ann also has a passion for desserts and you can find classical treacle sponge sitting alongside rhubarb bread and butter pudding and elderflower jelly with strawberry sorbet. Regular pudding nights along with other tastings including black pudding, cider and bread are run throughout the year and give customers the chance to rate Ann’s recipes alongside other local suppliers.

Ann is thrilled to have seen the reputation of The Queens Arms grow beyond anything she could have imagined. She added: “Of course we love to win awards and receive praise for what we have all achieved here, but nothing can beat the real satisfaction of being able to take something fresh and local and creating something truly delicious from it.”


Pork belly cooked in cider


1 whole pork belly
2 cooking apples
2 onions
pint of cider
sea salt


Heat the oven to its highest temperature. Score the belly pork and lightly brush with vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the sea salt over and place in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Peel and cut the onions in quarters and the same with the apples. 

Lower the oven temperature to 130 (gas mark 2). Put the apples and onion in with the pork, pour in the cider (not over the top of the pork) and place in the oven to cook for five hours.  When cooked, let it cool then portion.

To serve

Put the belly pork in a very hot oven and warm through, the cider is strained and then reduce by half.

The Queens Arms serve it with apple mash and savoy cabbage. Will serve 4-6 people depending on the weight of meat.