My Yorkshire: Cryer and Stott cheesemonger on why the Emley Moor Tower makes him feel at home
What’s your first Yorkshire memory?
My grandad was a butcher in Castleford and before I started school he’d look after me on a Wednesday afternoon. I used to help him make the pork pies and he’d even take me the abattoir sometimes. I don’t think that would be allowed now, but I believe this is what started me on my life journey with food.
What’s your favourite part of the county?
Covid and lockdown was a really difficult time for everybody, we lost 85 per cent of our business overnight. Because we were in the food industry we were still allowed to trade. A lot of time I would be driving up to North Yorkshire to lots of producers in Thirsk and the Dales and I fell in love with that part of Yorkshire. Often I would be the only person on the road and it gave me time to reflect.
What’s your idea of a perfect day/weekend, out in Yorkshire?
Last year to celebrate my wife Clare’s birthday as a family, including our dog Cheddar, we stayed in a log cabin near Castle Howard. At this time of year it is stunning with all the trees changing colour and this amazing piece of architecture and history in the middle of it.
Do you have a favourite walk/view?
This is another personal one and not one that would occur to everyone. When I was in my early 20s I used to work a lot in the Midlands. Coming back up the M1 I used to see Emley Moor and I knew I was just 20 minutes from home. After being a way it was the best view, it was a real comfort blanket.
Which Yorkshire sportsman would you like to take for lunch?
Well he's an honorary Yorkshireman in my mind and that’s Marcelo Bielsa. What he did for Leeds, not just the football club but the wider city was so great. He brought a real feel good factor to the city and even the wider economy. I’d love to sit down and had a chat with him.
Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take for dinner?
I think it would have to be Dame Judi Dench. The longevity of her career and the number of different films she has appeared in including James Bond and all her theatre work makes her a great advocate for Yorkshire.
If you had to name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’, what would it be?
It has to be the amazing Victorian architecture on the top of shops and buildings in cities like Leeds. We spend so much time looking at the shop windows, but have you ever looked up? You can see the almost gothic inspiration of some of the buildings clearly from the window of the 4th Floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols
If you could choose somewhere, or some object, from or in Yorkshire to own for a day, what would it be?
It would have to be Leeds United, specifically Elland Road on a Saturday. I’d be the player manager and come on half way through.
What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?
It has to be Yorkshire grit – something that needs to be cherished. The endeavour of Yorkshire people, as well as the landscape makes the county unique.
Do you follow sport in the county, and if so, what?
Obviously football, and Leeds United in particular. And coming from Castleford, of course ther rugby league club.
Do you have a favourite restaurant, or pub?
I’ve got quite a few but I think one that does stand out for the food and the quality of the service is the 4th Floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols in Leeds. Me and my wife like to go a Tuesday lunchtime if we can get the time off. It has such a great atmosphere and the chef Lee has really embraced seasonality. When it comes to my favourite pub it has to be James Mackenzie’s The Pipe and Glass at South Dalton. It might have a Michelin star but it is still a pub serving proper Yorkshire portions.
Do you have a favourite food shop?
I love Kirkgate Market in Leeds for fresh fish – and I urge people to support their local fishmonger. And then there’s Lishman’s in Ilkley – a traditional butcher who is doing some incredible stuff when it comes to charcuterie.
How do you think that Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time that you’ve known it?
For the better it has to be cities like Leeds and Sheffield where they have become really cosmopolitan while maintaining the history of the places. On the negative side I feel we have lost a lot of the community spirit, especially with the closure of so many pubs which used to be the hub of the community.
Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire?
I think it has to be Captain James Cook. For me he sums up that Yorkshire endeavour I mentioned earlier – the name of his ship says it all. Just to set off and have no idea where you would end up.
Has Yorkshire influenced your work?
Absolutely. Literally from that first memory of making pork pies Yorkshire has influenced my career with food. We now have eight collaborations with producers including Henderson’s Relish.
Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer.
I went to art college after leaving school and so it has to be David Hockney. He manages to combines tradition with innovation. He works with paint and then uses an iPad. We are going to London (Richard was awarded and MBE by King Charles) and we plan to go to Westminster to see a stained glass window he created using an iPad.
If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, where should it be?
It has to be the Yorkshire Dales and then to a proper Yorkshire pub for a traditional Sunday roast.