What inspired you to become a chef?
I started working in kitchens at the age of 13, doing the dishes and working my way to the starters. I loved being in the kitchen and saw it as a gateway to leaving school. I then left school at 16 to attend cooking college, followed by an apprenticeship at Gleneagles hotel when I was 17. It was tough but was really inspired me to continue working in kitchens.
Where have you worked and what did you learn along the way?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in some of Europe’s leading kitchens, including La Tante Claire in London under Pierre Koffmann and Guy Savoy in Paris as well as Le Louis XV in Monaco under legendary Monsieur Alain Ducasse. In 2006 my wife and I opened our first restaurant, The Kitchin, in Edinburgh and since then we’ve opened four more. I’ve had an incredible journey, one that has allowed me to learn all about different cultures and ways of life and I feel that has all really helped make me the chef I am today.
Describe three signature dishes
A rockpool of local seafood, sea vegetables, ginger and a Newhaven shellfish consommé.
Main: Roe Deer
Roasted loin and braised haunch of roe deer from the Borders, salt baked neeps, rhubarb and red wine sauce
Dessert: Rhubarb crumble souffle
Talk generally about the provenance of ingredients in your kitchen
We’re so lucky with the variety of local produce and local suppliers available in the area; we have some of the best produce in the UK on our doorstep. The high-quality produce available here in Scotland allows us to be more innovative with our recipes and cooking methods. The variety of produce available means we have such large a range of ingredients to work with, for example; freshly caught lobsters from the fishermen’s boat, or game which has just been shot that day and brought in by the gamekeeper straight to our doorstep.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t tend to make plans, I like to take each day and new venture as they come, assessing opportunities along the way. I just want to make sure all my businesses are running as efficiently as possible and my family are happy.