Billy Boyter from The Cellar in Anstruther to take on new role as executive head chef at The Rusacks St Andrews

Billy Boyter, the chef who has owned and run the Michelin Star restaurant The Cellar for ten years will take on his new role this month.
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Chef Billy Boyter, who has been at the helm of the Michelin Star restaurant The Cellar in Anstruther for ten years, is set to take on the role of executive head chef at The Rusacks – a boutique hotel in St Andrews.

He had announced in late January that he and his family had made the difficult decision to put the award-winning East Neuk restaurant on the market.

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Boyter said of the decision: “Towards the end of last year, it was something that my parents and I spoke about. One of the main reasons was recruitment was very, very hard. Our manager was leaving and we've been trying to get someone for three months.

Billy Boyter announced in January the 'difficult decision' to put The Cellar in Anstruther up for sale. He's now taking up a new role at the Rusacks in St Andrews,Billy Boyter announced in January the 'difficult decision' to put The Cellar in Anstruther up for sale. He's now taking up a new role at the Rusacks in St Andrews,
Billy Boyter announced in January the 'difficult decision' to put The Cellar in Anstruther up for sale. He's now taking up a new role at the Rusacks in St Andrews,

"We had CVs and but no-one of the kind of calibre we wanted, and I didn't want the restaurant to then slip in terms of the quality offered. It just seemed the right time for us to sell and move on. And, for me also, it was ten years of doing the same sort of thing, standing in the same spot in the same kitchen. It was just the right time for me to make a change. I got offered the position here, which is also close to home. It’s a really good challenge for me.”

At the time of writing, The Cellar is still on the market, but has had a few serious viewings. Boyter said he hoped to sell soon so he could concentrate on his new role. But he also hopes whomever buys the restaurant comes in with the “same ethos that we’ve had”.

He said: “I’d want them to carry on with their own style. The Cellar has been a restaurant in Anstruther for about 60 years now and it's always been a standout restaurant in the East Neuk and I’d love to see that continue, and have someone put their own tweak on it. If it completely changes and becomes something different, then great. But for Anstrither, it’s just been such a prominent thing in that area for so long.”

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For now, Boyter is getting into his new role at The Rusacks, which is now under the Marine and Lawn brand. The venue was sold by Macdonald Hotels in 2019 and went under a huge renovation and reopened in 2021.

The Cellar is on the market for offers over £500,000The Cellar is on the market for offers over £500,000
The Cellar is on the market for offers over £500,000

The Rusacks, which overlooks the 18th green at the iconic Old Course, has a rooftop bar and restaurant with panoramic views of the course and coastline. Originally opened by chef Derek Johnstone in 2021, the restaurants in the hotel include 18, The Bridge and One Under Bar.

Boyter admitted the role would involve a lot more man management and less cooking, which he said he would miss. But he will be working with each of the head chefs of the restaurants to create new menus and dishes, which will be added slowly.

"In The Cellar, it was me and two in the kitchen, and two or three out front, so it was a very small operation,” he said. “Whereas here, we’ve got three outlets – the pub, One Under, The Bridge, which is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant, and 18, which is more of a fine dining restaurant with cooking focused on the Robata Grill. It’s a lot of different things for me to get my teeth into. The reason they brought me here was to help raise the level of their food, so that's what I'm looking forward to the most.”

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When asked if he thinks the team are aiming for a Michelin Star – The Cellar has had a star since 2015, and retained it for the 2024 guide – Boyter said no. But reflecting on his time at The Balmoral, he said: “If it was a focus, I couldn’t see why they couldn't achieve that. All I want to do is raise the level of the food in all outlets and just make sure that if we have a guest in the hotel, in the pub, or in the Bridge or 18, that it's just quality food throughout.”

Boyter is in this for the long term, and will make changes to the food and menus slowly, though some new dishes are on the cards, particularly for One Under. He said: “I can't come in and just completely change every single menu because it's just going to be an absolute nightmare for everyone and it’d probably make me go bald.

"We're going to do it gradually and just make sure that we do it right. In the short term, we're going to change a couple of dishes in each venue. Once they're done and settled, we'll then start adding in a few, ideally, a couple of weeks, until we get to a full menu change, hopefully by the time summer comes around.”

When it comes to 18 restaurant, diners can come to expect dishes of similar standard to The Cellar and, no matter where guests dine, Boyter wants to be using the best of Scottish and local produce.

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In One Under, he’s introducing a haggis Scotch egg, a spiced shrimp corn dog with Japanese ketchup, and katsuobushi. “If we're going to do a burger, then let's use Balcaskie Estate beef and do a beef and bone marrow burger,” he said. “These will be recognisable pub dishes, but just a little bit more exciting.”

As for the Bridge restaurant, Boyter is keen to keep the Mediterranean influence, but with a touch of Scotland – for example, by using East Coast cured smoked nduja in a shellfish dish.

While it’ll be an adjustment, the role ensures Boyter can continue to flex his creative muscles while being closer to home and family. And with three outlets to run, there’s no chance of standing in the same spot in the same kitchen for years.

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