LIKE his former coal miner dad, Skipton chef Mark Byron works underground.

His award-winning restaurant, Le Caveau, is just below street level in the site of a 16th century dungeon at 86 High Street.

This month, it scooped for the second year running the Prestige Award for Yorkshire’s best French restaurant. He also won the 2023 Skipton Business Award for best food and drink.

Mark said: ‘‘We’re an old school French restaurant with a Yorkshire twist, making everything from scratch and sourcing from local suppliers,” such as Skipton’s Drake and Macefield, Skipton market’s fishmongers George Wilson and Nikky Jonas; Malham’s Lee Gate Farm, Ripon’s R and J butchers, and Settle’s Courtyard Dairy.

These combine for some of his customers’ favourites: local venison bourguignon with bacon lardons; scallops with black pudding and mustard sauce; a trio of local cheese.

Sourcing local means giving local - he chooses one game merchant because proceeds go towards the Riding for Disabled Association. And, in his spare time Mark and his family explore the local countryside, supporting local restaurants and pubs.

Mark learned his trade first at Wakefield college and then during 25 years under the expert eye of renowned chef Ray Carter, of the Sportsman’s Arms, in Pateley Bridge.

That all changed in 2012 when his then girlfriend, now wife Esther, took him to Le Caveau for their second date. He decided then that he wanted to own the restaurant; a dream which came true in 2014.

It’s not easy nowadays to make a living in the hospitality business, he says, but he tries to keep his prices reasonable by, for example, including generous helpings of side dishes and home-made breads. And, he explains, in the New Year he’ll be launching a new lunch/brunch menu to attract local trade and shoppers as well as continuing his always sold-out events.

Thanks to his father, he says, he believes in ‘solid work ethics. It’s graft’- values he is passing down to his two children, Phoebe and George, who he hopes will follow him into the business.

Prestige Awards was launched by Corporate Livewire, an organisation which provides business professionals and individuals in the corporate sector with information on the latest news and developments from around the globe.  The awards celebrate the businesses and individuals that consistently offer excellent products and services to local residents, ex-pats and tourist visitors alike. 

The presentation is due to be made on December 11 at Haselwood Castle, near Leeds.