Calum Franklin is a chef with a serious pie obsession, and he doesn't discriminate: from cheap as chips pies, to his and his team's incredible creations at The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room in London. It is at this workshop of pastry curiosities - partly inspired by Victorian England, partly by the antique kitchen shops of Paris - that his "love for all of the pies" shines through.
Having worked in some of London's most famous (or infamous) kitchens, Franklin has always been fascinated by savoury pastry work and rates British pie-making as the best in the world. With a huge social media following, he is helping to make pie-making fashionable again, with a wealth of fans online and in real life seeking respite from extraneously colourful, Insta-perfect food.
"People just wanted something different, it happened that that different was brown food," says Franklin. "People were a bit bored of extravagant plates, they wanted something a bit more honest and homely."
But as he reveals in this podcast episode, Franklin's journey to becoming Britain's undisputed pie king has been incredibly bumpy: now sober, he has battled alcoholism, and says the industry was the perfect environment for someone with a drink problem, working and partying in amongst kitchen crews of similarly hard-drinking "pirates" who would sometimes gather to drink from 7am on their days off.
"If I look back now and I'm honest with myself, my drinking was out of control from probably the age of 17. What the restaurant industry gave me was the opportunity to hide it," he says.
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