Futureheads singer Barry Hyde is trying his hand at a new career

Futureheads frontman Barry Hyde is training to become a chef at a North East fine food deli

Barry Hyde who has become a chef at Junipers Pantry in Sunderland under the stewardship of David Gill
Barry Hyde who has become a chef at Junipers Pantry in Sunderland under the stewardship of David Gill

He's normally seen on stage with a microphone in hand in front of thousands of music fans, but The Futureheads’ frontman Barry Hyde is now more likely to be seen sweating over a hot stove.

The musician is making the most of the band’s hiatus by taking on a new challenge in the kitchen of a Sunderland eatery.

He can now be found under the stewardship of acclaimed chef David Gill from Juniper’s Pantry in Sunderland, where he is training to be a chef.

Barry says food has always been a passion of his alongside his music and the current break from touring and recording with his band has allowed him to pursue his second love.

He said: “I have been wanting to get into food since about 2008 but it’s obviously very difficult to start one thing while you’re doing another, it also takes a lot of confidence.

“At that time in our career we were very, very busy and before you know it one album rolls into the next.

“Now we’re all a little bit older, we’ve released five albums and we have a little bit more time.”

Juniper’s Pantry, which is a fine food deli, was opened by David Gill a couple of years ago after he returned to the region following a successful career working in Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, Switzerland, Spain and France and cooking for the likes of Prince Andrew and former US president Bill Clinton.

He recently decided it was time to advertise for a chef and that was when he got a surprise application from Barry, who he knew from working together organising the Gourmet Tent at Sunderland’s Split Festival, which the singer runs with his Futurehead band mates.

David said: “We have done quite a bit of stuff with Barry whilst being involved with Split Festival so I definitely knew he had a passion for food and I never really forgot about it.

“I put out an advert saying I needed a chef and I got a message from Barry that was really passionate and heartfelt.

“I would rather train someone up from scratch if they feel that strongly about it so it seemed like a good idea for the two of us.”

He added: “It’s been fantastic so far, I can just say ‘there you go Barry, there’s a recipe’ and he gets going on it.”

Barry has been working in the kitchen now for just over a week and he says he is loving it.

And while some may think music to cooking is a stark career leap, Barry feels the two actually compliment each other.

He said: “I’m a complete novice but I’ve got a lot of cookery books and I have eaten lots of food. There’s a lot of similarities between music and food.

“I’m lucky enough to have travelled to Japan, Mexico and all over America so I’ve experienced lots of different types of food.

“I feel really lucky that one career which was my hobby became my job and now my new hobby is food, which came through my music, and that is going to be my next career. It was very organic.”

And learning from a chef such as David is already proving awe-inspiring for Barry who is enjoying getting his hands dirty and learning as he goes along.

“It’s been brilliant. I’m not on the line yet, I’m just doing all the prep work but I love it,” said Barry.

He added: “Just watching David you can see his standards are so high. It’s a bit like getting guitar lessons off Jimi Hendrix. I couldn’t wish for more, even just watching him work.

“He’s got all of these dishes coming out of his imagination. It’s like watching someone conduct an orchestra. I feel very lucky to be working here.”

Barry has a few years ahead of him before he becomes a fully-trained chef which will see him become a master of two trades.

Fans of The Futureheads need not fears as Barry says this doesn’t spell the end for the band.

He said: “I will always be a musician with The Futureheads and we will never split up.”

Juniper’s Pantry is on Silksworth Lane in Sunderland.

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