The future chef

FutureheadsFutureheads frontman Barry Hyde has swapped guitar for ganache as he takes a break from music to train up as a chef, discovers Dean Bailey

Music and food have always had an odd relationship. We’ve all heard the horror stories of travelling from gig to gig via service stations and fast food stops, stocking up calories before heading out on stage and repeating the pattern six months to a year at a time. It’s not exactly the best world for a foodie.

Barry Hyde, frontman of the Sunderland-based indie band The Futureheads, is one of a special breed of musicians (think musician turned cheese farmer Alex James of Blur) who have come to love their food, and now he is taking his passion further by training as a chef.

“My early life in food was pretty mixed, a mash-up of highly processed convenience foods,” he says. “My favourite dinner when I was a bairn was turkey burgers and corn on the cob – no sauce, no beans – that was it for me.”

But life in the kitchen changed for Barry when his mother started to work full time and his grandmother started taking care of him and his brother Dave, drummer with the Futureheads.

“My grandmother was a brilliant cook. She could make a meal out of a dishcloth and a pan of water,” says Barry. “She used to make a broth with lamb and dumplings. In winter you’d open the back door and the smell would be there and you knew she’d been making it. She was a total master in the kitchen. Her food always felt like a special treat.”

Barry’s food is, he says, an eclectic mix inspired by his travels around the world. “I like a lot of things. Vietnamese is a favourite. I like fresh, healthy food mixed with something a bit heavier, so if you’re going to have belly pork I would do it with sweet potato, coleslaw and some flatbreads so it’s not too heavy.

“You can allow yourself some indulgence if you’re putting something with it that’s a bit more wholesome.”

Barry and his bandmates have been a big part of Sunderland’s Split music festival, at which his bandmates bringing together some of the region’s best musicians while Barry looks after the food.

Now on a break from the band, having worked non-stop for the last decade travelling the globe playing some 750 gigs, Barry is being trained up in the kitchen by David Gill at Juniper’s Pantry in Sunderland.

Appetite-Juniper-84Owner and head chef David (pictured above, on the left, with Barry) is teaching Barry all he can in the professional kitchen, and Barry has found his niche, it seems. “I’m doing as many hours as possible really, most of it is just work experience,” says Barry. “I’m keen to work as many hours as Dave needs.

“I forgot how much I enjoy working for other people. I was self-employed for 10 years and I forgot how much I used to love working in Kwik Save or HMV. When you’re a professional musician you’re at your own leisure, so you wake up later and later every day, then you’ll play the guitar or write a song and it’s not really enough to satisfy your mind.”

Under David’s expert guidance, built up around the world including The Canteen under Marco Pierre White, Barry is getting to grips with the pace of a professional kitchen. “At the moment I’m doing sausage rolls, pie fillings, Scotch eggs. I invented my own recipe for a ploughman’s Scotch egg today. I’ve also started helping with the Sunday roasts. I made 200 Yorkshire puddings last weekend.”

The verdict from the boss? “Barry’s definitely picking things up quickly,” says David. “We started off with finding his feet in the kitchen and he’s helped us out with a very busy weekend last weekend. He’s come up with his first idea with the ploughman’s Scotch egg. They’re fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Barry is working on his first solo album and hoping to gain experience in some of the best restaurants in the country.

“We’re gaining experience in other realms. I wrote my best songs when I worked in HMV and Kwik Save when I was doing other things. Inspiration can come in when you’re distracted doing other stuff.

“The Futureheads will return. I don’t know when but when we do I know we’ll enjoy it more than ever.”

Appetite-Juniper-44Lead guitar’s Scotch egg

1 large free range egg
60g free range sausage meat (from the shoulder)
10g smoked Doddington cheese
10g caramelised red onion
½ spring onion finely chopped
a few fresh thyme sprigs
10g Juniper’s Pantry apple and raisin chutney
pinch sea salt
pinch cracked black pepper
a little flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs to coat the egg

Soft boil the egg and place in ice cold water to stop the cooking process for 10 mins. Finely grate the cheese and mix with all of the remaining ingredients. Peel the egg and roll in plain flour to help bind the mix onto the egg. Use slightly wet hands and flatten the sausage mix onto the palm of your hand. Fold the sausage meat around the egg and nip it closed. Roll the egg in the flour, then in the beaten egg, and then coat it in the breadcrumbs. Deep fry for 5 mins at 190C/Gas 5.

Appetite-Juniper-34Frontman’s pork and chestnut pie

For the hot water crust pastry:
500g flour
225g lard
166ml warm water
For the filling:
125g sausage meat
20g roasted chestnuts chopped
10g sliced smoked bacon
½ teaspoon of fresh sage, tarragon, thyme, marjarom
pinch of nutmeg very finely grated
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cracked black pepper
50ml fresh veal stock (optional)
1 egg, beaten

Pastry:Boil water and lard together. Leave to cool for 20 mins. Pour over flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Divide into thirds and kneed, still warm, for 3 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins then repeat twice more. Refridgerate overnight. Remove from fridge two hours before use.
Filling:Grease a pie tin with vegetable oil and a dusting of plain flour. Roll pastry to 1cm thick and line the tin, reserving enough for a lid. Mix all ingredients except the stock and fill pastry case. Glaze one side of the lid with beaten egg and press on top. Glaze excess pastry from base and close, nipping the edges to form a crust. Glaze, poke a hole through the top and bake for 45 mins on 200C/Gas 6. If using the veal stock, warm through slightly and pour through the hole.

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