When Calum Franklin was growing up, his mother was his pie-making mentor. "I remember seeing her ruffle the potato on top of a shepherd's pie with a fork, and thinking how cool that was," he says. The executive chef at Holborn Dining Room in London has taken his lifelong obsession with pastry to the next level – opening Victorian-style The Pie Room at his restaurant.
The menu includes both classic British and modern examples ("my favourite at the moment is a curried mutton pie") and the pastrywork is exquisite. Sometimes he'll use a scalpel for ultra-detailed flourishes. "There are times we stand in a huge freezer cutting the smallest, most intricate lattice to cover the top of a pie," he says.
The kitchen makes 200 pies a day and there's a takeaway window for customers in a hurry. The best response to his creations? One family made a video of themselves unboxing a personalised pâté en croûte and uploaded it to YouTube.
"That was pretty special, seeing it directly making people happy, which is really what it's all about," says Franklin.
The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN, holborndiningroom.com