Favourite Things: James Mackenzie

James Mackenzie
James Mackenzie

Chef James Mackenzie was brought up in Filey and trained at Scarborough Technical College. He and his wife Kate run the Michelin-starred Pipe and Glass at South Dalton, near Beverley. They have two children – Toby, 8, and Molly, 6. James will be one of the guest chefs at the Scarborough Food and Drink Festival on the West Pier on 12 and 13 May.

I grew up in Filey, and it’s still one of my favourite places. My mum still lives there, so Kate and I like to take the kids to visit her, and then walk on the beach with our black lab, Cocoa. And, of course, there’s not a lot to beat fish and chips on the Coble Landing.

Filey's Coble Landing.

Filey's Coble Landing.

One of the great joys of running a pub with a restaurant is that I get to do the thing I love the most – cooking – on a virtually daily basis. The downside is it’s hard to get time off, so when we do, we like to make the most of it. The kids are eight and six, so have tons of energy. They love a day out at Go Ape in Dalby Forest, or Castle Howard. It’s got loads of room for them to roam, plus a great play area. At the end of the day, they’re hungry, so we head for the nearest branch of their favourite restaurant – Pizza Express!

We’ve just had a complete revamp of the gardens at the Pipe and Glass, so a recent favourite activity for Kate and I has been visiting other gardens for inspiration. Again, we enjoy the beautiful gardens at Castle Howard and at the RHS’s Harlow Carr in Harrogate, and we love the parkland designed by Capability Brown and the stunning 18th century Orangery at Burton Constable Hall, which is just down the road from us.

I always enjoy a trip to Malton – there are some great independent food shops there these days, including Roost, where we buy all our coffee for the Pipe and Glass. I’ve done many demos at the annual food festival; it’s always a great weekend and usually a chance to catch up with some old friends. I’ll be there again in May.

We’re fortunate to have Brid-lington Spa nearby – we’ve seen some great acts there including, recently, Stereophonics and Jason Manford. And I started my career after leaving Scarborough Technical College in 1996 at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, so we still enjoy a visit there when we can find time.

Tour de Yorkshire

Tour de Yorkshire

In 2016, we were lucky enough to have the Tour de Yorkshire pass by the end of the lane outside the Pipe and Glass – that was a fabulous spectacle! So we’re really looking forward to seeing it pass by again this year. The kids get involved with school projects, so they really appreciate the chance to see this world-class event at such close quarters.

The Pipe and Glass closes for a couple of weeks in January, and we take our main family holiday then, usually abroad. But last year we also managed a couple of days in Whitby in mid-summer. It was during that really hot period and we could easily have been abroad – it was gorgeous.

And, of course, we paid a visit to my old friend Andrew Pern’s Star Inn the Harbour. I cooked there with him recently, and it’s a great restaurant with wonderful views of the town.

When I’m not at work, or out and about, I like nothing better than to settle down with ... a good cookery book. It’s important to keep learning and innovating, and my fellow chefs’ books are full of inspiration. I have a huge collection, which I like to share with my customers and friends at the Pipe and Glass – they’re all in a Chefs’ Library next to our private dining room. Which brings me back to my beloved Filey – I’m about to start work on my second cookery book; my first, On the Menu, was published in 2011. This new book will feature some location photography, and we’re planning to do the barbecue shots on Filey beach this summer. We’ll just need to make sure we keep Toby, Molly and Cocoa away from the food long enough for the photographer to shoot it!

Malton Food Festival

Malton Food Festival