“Great food, drink and service. Simple.”
The Wordrobe talks engaging dining experiences, winter comfort food and keeping things simple with Cal Byerley, Michelin chef and owner of Pine in Northumberland
What inspired you to become a chef?
I just fell into it to be totally honest.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
I worked at the pub and then hotel which were both local to me in Northumberland. When I started taking cooking more seriously I went to stagiaire at various Michelin starred restaurants in the Lake District and London. Eventually I found my way to Simon Rogan’s Rogan & Co, in Cartmel and then on to Forest Side, in Grasmere, under head chef Kevin Tickle.
What’s your favourite winter dish?
I love proper winter warmers, like hot pot and mince and dumplings. That tends to be what I cook at home for myself and my wife Sian.
What’s been your biggest career highlight to-date?
I have a few! Winning the red and green Michelin star in year one of Pine was huge. This came just two weeks after Marina O’Loughlin called Pine her restaurant of the year in January. My wife Sian and I, as well as Pine’s head Chef Ian Waller and our head sommelier Vanessa Stoltz, all celebrated a lot together that month. A personal one for me was scoring a 10/10 from Angela Harnett for my dessert which featured on Great British Menu.
What can guests expect from a meal at Pine?
A really fun, engaging dining experience.
You’re big on sustainability. How do you incorporate this into Pine?
Sustainability is a hospitality buzz word these days. It is the start and end of everything at Pine really. Whether it’s a dish or drink, it’s all about maximising the potential of each ingredient we use.
It’s about how many different ways can we use that particular ingredient and how many of the different parts can we use to avoid wasting anything – squeezing every little bit of potential out of the one thing. Take an apple for instance, its peeled, the peel and core is juiced, that’s one ingredient.
The apple is blackened over three months then dehydrated – that’s product no. 2. The black apple juice that comes from the process is product no. 3. When the apple is cut into portions the trim is saved until there is enough for that to be product no.4 using it for an ice cream or what may come next.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Natural, progressive and tasty.
What does hospitality mean to you?
Great food, drink and service. simple.
Name your three favourite restaurants.
NOMA, L’Enclume & Kitchen Table. These have been my favourite meals of the last year or so.
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Write everything down.
What do you think will be 2024’s biggest food trend?
Finally, what’s next on the cards?
We have quite a bit on actually. Myself and Ian are writing a cookbook Pine pt.1 basically telling the story of the first 3 years of Pine with dishes, recipes and stories. We’ll be popping up no doubt around the country and potentially overseas as well but can’t tell you where just yet. We’d love to open a second venue but we’re holding out for the right space.
Try Cal’s dishes in-person at Pine, Northumberland
Find out more via restaurantpine.co.uk
All images credited to Joe Taylor Photography.