Chef Matt Gillan of Pike & Pine and Red Roaster

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Nick Mosley chats to Matt Gillan:

How is working at Pike & Pine different to your previous position at The Pass?

The Pass was a much more straightforward operation to run. We had a lunch and dinner service five days a week with the security of a 90 bedroom hotel around us. The focus was purely on the food and service.

Pike & Pine is twinned with Red Roaster and so instantly the work load is doubled. There are two separate menu styles, two sets of teams and two different clienteles to cater for. I am now based in a city with a number of great places to eat, so Pike & Pine isn’t the default destination for Brightonians. For me now, it’s not just about the food. I have to look at the operation as a whole, as a business.

Do you think that there is a trend back to a la carte dining rather than small plates that have been ubiquitous for the past few years?

I don’t think the need for a la carte dining has ever gone away. But with so many places now offering a limited choice through tasting menus or small plates, it’s highlighted how much people still enjoy that way of eating. Likewise, I also don’t think tasting menus and small plates have had their day.

People also enjoy eating that way. I think it’s a price thing. With an a la carte menu, you are firmly in control of your spend and you can have what you want from the menu. We have just removed our tasting menus to give people more freedom to move through the menu however they want, and because it sits much more in line with daytime.

Who are your favourite Sussex food and drink producers?

Ridgeview Wine Estate are one of my favourite producers to work with. They have a great product and the team are friendly, knowledgeable and just want to see people enjoying their wine.

South Downs Game have some of the best venison I have tasted and I will always wait for Jack to get in touch before I start putting game on the menu.

Trenchmore Farm also have a great product with their Sussex-Wagyu cross cows, and their Silly Moo cider is very popular here. Wobblegate juice and cider are also one of my favourites.

You work with Butler’s Wine Cellar on your list. What’s the process of choosing wines to match your dishes?

The process starts with what part of the dish we want to enhance and what we are trying to achieve with the pairing. Some dishes require the wine to cleanse the pallet of certain bolder flavours, allowing other flavours to come through. Sometimes –certainly in more delicate dishes – we’ll use the wine to enhance certain characteristics of a dish. Or we’ll use a wine that is perfectly aligned with a dish, in terms of flavour profile, to continue that experience from solid to liquid.

You’re hosting a chef from Miami for a one-off dinner – what are the details of that and what can people expect?

On 21st November, Brad Kilgore and his team from Alter will be joining us for a one off dinner. Brad and the team have received a lot of recognition in the US over the last year, scooping various accolades and awards, so to bring him to Brighton and collaborate on the menu is really exciting. The evening will be begin with signature cocktails and bites from Alter and Pike & Pine, followed by an 8 course menu; five by Brad and three from myself. He’ll also be on hand to talk about his dishes and rub shoulders with everyone.

Pike & Pine will be offering their Christmas menus from 27 November – full details are at www.pikeandpine.co.uk/christmas

Pike & Pine / Red Roaster, 1D St James’s Street, Brighton BN2 1RE • 01273 686 668

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