By Graham Chalmers
After 10 successful years, one of the pioneers of Harrogate’s independent cafe-deli shop scene is heading for pastures new - but the business she created looks set to live on.
First opened in 2005 in an unlikely spot on Harlow Hill, Lucinda Hyman set up LH Fine Foods with the aim of offering a high quality cafe-shop built on home-cooked food and local ingredients.
Not everyone expected her to succeed in an area not exactly known for this sort of thing. Lucinda said: “The space was an empty shell when I took it over. I wasn’t surprised some people had their doubts.”
But this former London pastry chef and graduate of Harrogate Ladies’ College was determined to succeed.
“I’d worked for Michelin star chefs like Michel Roux during my time down south and loved it. I wanted to put that experience to good use when I moved back.
“I started making soup and savoury tarts for farmers markets and then moved into a production unit in Claro Road. But I wanted my own place.”
This bijou cafe quickly built up a devoted customer base.
Lucinda said: “We’ve had such lovely support. Our customers come from all over Yorkshire for a coffee and cake or lunch, not just Harrogate. Even people visiting the town from London or elsewhere for the Great Yorkshire Show have made a point of coming here.”
The decision to sell her business wasn’t an easy one, admits Lucinda, who recently became a mother.
“Some of my customers were crying when they heard the news but I feel as if I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve here. I know I am going to miss the shop lots but the time is perfect for a new challenge.”
Lucinda said she was positive LH Fine Foods would carry on without her.
She said: “I’m very hopeful someone will carry it on with the same high standard we’ve offered to customers”
Moving on also means Lucinda might even find more time for other things!
“I still want to explore new areas in the food business but it will also be nice to concentrate on my family.”