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Flavour Profile Q&A: Katia and Carlo Crolla of East Coast, Musselburgh

The Crollas tell us about their first food memories and dream dinner parties

Published: June 21, 2021

What’s your favourite ingredient?

K: Garlic, I use it in almost everything and would be lost without it.

C: I love chilli. I always make sure I have a jar of homemade chilli oil at home.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

K: My inner Glaswegian is screaming chips, cheese and curry sauce.

C: McCoy’s crisps, any flavour, they’re so big and crunchy – Is it bad for my reputation if I admit that when I’m in a rush for something to eat I put them in a sandwich?

Tell us about your first food memory?

K: I have so many, from my dad peeling potatoes to me making pizzas and standing on a big stool in order to reach. One that really sticks in my head was when we were driving to Italy one summer and stopped in France for food. I must have been five or six years old and my parents ordered tomato soup for me and my little sister. We both ended up devouring my parents’ moules mariniere and they had the soup. My dad loved to share that story.

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C: One that stands out to me as a child was going for picnics with mum and dad on a Sunday. I would always ask mum for her homemade cured Italian sausage cut up into chunks in a crispy Scottish morning roll. She would wrap it in kitchen foil, unwrapping that shiny silver wrapper. It was definitely a Werther’s Original moment for me.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

KCrabshakk in Finnieston, Glasgow is one of my favourites.

C: The Strathearn restaurant at Gleneagles is definitely up there.

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What would be your last supper?

K: It would have to be my mum’s lasagna and homemade focaccia.

C: Battered haddock and chips with brown sauce.

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K: Well that’s just crazy talk! Both.

C: I’m with Katia on this one.

Do you have any food hates?

K: Although I have it in tea, I just can’t drink milk.

C: As a child on holiday I bit into a peach and found a bug crawling around inside. Haven’t gone near them since.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

K: I would invite Kevin Bridges, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith. The room would be full of laughs and dancing all night. We would eat hand dived Scottish scallops, followed by grilled fillet steak, chips and a peppercorn sauce and an Eton mess to finish.

C: I’d hire a chef to cook, as I need to entertain my guests. I’d start with a nice plate of al dente seafood pasta (obviously with added chilli). Steak and lobster to follow, then a Michelin star type dessert with an explosion of flavours and textures. I’d invite Robin Williams and Marcus Aurelius.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

K: Italy.

C: Italy, even if you end up in a substandard takeaway/restaurant/cafe the food is still decent, the produce is so good and it’s always homemade.

For more information about the Crolla’s seafood and grill restaurant, and the fish and chip shop, see


Facebook: EastCoastMusselburgh

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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