What’s your favourite ingredient?
A multitude of herbs. We add a massive bundle of ‘hard’ herbs, including rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, bay and parsley stalks tied up with butcher’s string to nearly everything we slow cook in the restaurant. The difference in, for example, a pot of white beans that has been cooked with a big bundle versus a pot without any herbs is pretty obvious. Softer herbs such as parsley, mint, oregano and savory (again) go into salads, garnishes, or are fried in a pan with some fish and butter. I think that parsley is an especially underappreciated flavour.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
Sometimes we buy a cheap Tesco pizza, some ham and a tin of pineapple and add a grating of whatever cheese is in the fridge. I’m fully aware that we could just buy a Hawaiian, but it’s better somehow to assemble it ourselves. Also I love a Five Guys double bacon cheese burger, with mustard, jalapenos, pickles, grilled onions and all the good things in life.
Tell us about your first food memory?
When I was young we didn’t have much money. Mum used to buy loads of offal from the butcher because it was so cheap and ask the chefs at the restaurant she worked in how to cook it. I can remember her lamb and kidney stew. I used to eat all the kidneys first because I liked the chewy texture of a very well cooked kidney. I still don’t mind one.
What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?
Kinneuchar Inn hands down. I love James and Alethea and the restaurant dearly. It’s a nice drive from Edinburgh so perfect for a day out. Also The Taybank in Dunkeld is fantastic. Gloriosa for Glasgow. For Edinburgh, Spitaki, Verdo, Singapore Coffee House and Sabzi. And the Oban Seafood Hut at the ferry terminal is always a winner.
What would be your last supper?
Fried eggs on toast and Earl Grey tea. It’s basic I know, but I can happily eat eggs on toast nearly every day.
Starter or dessert?
Starter. So many more options than just sugar!
Do you have any food hates?
Cold toast. Over brewed tea. Micro herbs. Dots and smears on plates. Food described as ‘dirty’ or ‘filthy’, also the term ‘mouthfeel’.
What starter, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?
Our wedding was pretty close to my dream dinner party. For starters we had pork and rabbit terrines with cornichons, along with mozzarella and tomatoes. Then rotisserie chickens and roast potatoes followed by raspberry and almond tart. My family is split between two continents. So I’d have them all there at one table. That’s something that is very rare for me. And if it’s a case of who would I invite, alive or dead, I’ll add James Brown. Essentially I’d like to have our wedding day again, but this time with the King of Funk!
The Palmerston, 1 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh (0131 220 1794, www.thepalmerstonedinburgh.co.uk)