Scotsman food and drink are delighted to speak to new chef on the block Lachlan Archibald about his new venture, IN for our Under the grill feature and quick-fire Q & A.

As the saying goes ‘fortune favours the brave’, and this has certainly been true for chef Lachlan Archibald and his associate Matt Urry who have fearlessly chosen to launch IN, a fine dining takeaway business during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown.

However so far the gamble is paying off, and Lachlan is delighted to admit that the response has been “phenomenal.”

What is IN?

 

The concept is to offer keenly priced high end seasonal Scottish chef-crafted food which can be eaten at home. A new weekly four-course menu is released via social media on Wednesday evening.

Dinner bookings can then be made in advance for that Thursday, Friday and Saturday and can either be delivered to you in EH1, 2, 3 & 7 areas or collected by arrangement from their Dundas Street kitchen in Edinburgh.

The dishes are specially created to ensure the dishes travel well, with limited need to reheat. The packaging is all environmentally friendly and the food is immaculately presented.

Standards are naturally high, because until lockdown Lachlan was head chef at Kitchin.

He explains four weeks of being furloughed was enough for him, saying: “I was definitely missing the fast-paced environment of a Michelin starred kitchen, when you are used to working 14-16 hour days in the creative environment, doing nothing is hard.

“You need  serious passion to do those hours, be 100% committed to the lifestyle, but it is incredibly rewarding, but you are always chasing the clock.”

Definitely not one to sit back on his laurels, the concept of IN happened by chance following an exchange of foraged wild garlic with fellow foodie Matt Urry who revealed he had a commercial kitchen sitting empty.

Matt and Lachlan in the kitchen.

His boss, Tom Kitchin has been supportive of the venture even enthusing on Instagram “Fancy a dinner treat in Edinburgh? Check out this great initiative by @Chef_Lachlan_Archibald_ and his gourmet takeaway @in_take_out …limited spaces so get your orders in for next week. Great work Chef!”

Lachlan explains: “I have a great relationship with Tom” adding ” he looked after me, he pushed me and I respect him to the highest level.

“Despite the lockdown people still want to eat well and have a great dining experience.

“At IN we source local, super-fresh seasonal ingredients and create menus that mean you can treat yourself at an affordable price point, but because the menu changes every week, repeat custom has been really high.”

Cooking at home 

Whilst borne out of adversity, Lachlan believes the concept will continue for a long time to come. The key question for many venues being able to reopen is resting on one metre between tables guidelines and the government are likely to come under a lot of industry pressure about this.

Lachlan said: “Sadly, the catering industry will feel the long term impact of this crisis as people adopt social distancing for the foreseeable future. The sector is suffering hugely, and no one really knows what will happen, I guess we are lucky up in Scotland because we can see what happens first in England.

 

“We hope we can continue to do what we’re passionate about – championing Scottish suppliers and local produce to create quality, tasty, everchanging menus that people love. Adding there are a passionate group of people desperate to get out and who want to support the sector and at £35 pounds for four dishes, it means that it is accessible to order not just once in a while but every week.

Under the grill Q&A

One last query, before we put Lachlan through our usual Under the grill questions,

What’s your ultimate takeaway dish? “Well, I’m a sucker for an original authentic stone-baked pizza.”

Describe your cooking style? and why are you passionate about it? Traditional, French-inspired fusion etc.

“Contemporary European with Asian influences showcasing local and seasonal produce. We have incredible fresh produce on our doorstep in Scotland, and often these products are partnered well and can be shown in their best light, when combined with tastes and textures from further afield. ”

What was your first job in the industry? Plus where were you before?

“After studying professional cookery at college, in Cupar I worked as a waiter before taking up the reins as head chef at the West End Bar and Gantry in Pittenweem. The West End holds a special place in my heart as that’s where I met my partner, Rowan. In the summer months, Rowan and I ran the place together, me in the kitchen and her front of house, whilst the proprietor took care of a busy local bar and outside catering business.”

Favourite spice? And what dish/recipe would you suggest using it in? 

“Chilli- for me specifically birds eye chilli. My favourite dish to make with chilli is spicy papaya salad, som tam [papaya pok pok]”

Are you sweet or sour? So is it all peace and harmony in your kitchen or do the pots and pans fly? 

“I prefer the energy of a fast-paced kitchen, so definitely not peace and harmony! I’m extremely passionate about maintaining standards so sometimes this is expressed in a raised voice, but as chefs go, I think it’s fair to say I’d rank somewhere in the middle on the temper scale!”

What little things annoy you?

“Food that’s not seasoned well”

What is popular in your kitchen right now? 

“I’ve spent a lot of time in south-east Asia and I’m always interested in learning more about Asian cuisine. At home recently we’ve been exploring the vast pantry of China- especially Szechuan, which means I’m cooking with a lot of chinese spices and condiments. The Asian influence has found its way into the kitchen at IN, which has been well received so far by our customers. Can’t wait to travel again when lockdown ends!”

Tea or Coffee? Is it Darjeeling darling or bitter Colombian? What’s your brew and how you like to drink it? Camomile, Milky brew or builders elaborate, please?

“Both- I can’t operate without my morning espresso but I really enjoy a cup of Japanese or Taiwanese green tea. I can’t stand builder’s tea! It has to be a nice green tea.”

Everyone has one at least one guilty food pleasure, so what do you love but are too embarrassed to admit?

“I’m partial to a white chocolate magnum!”

Who is your favourite chef? Plus everyone has a food hero/ local supplier, who is yours and why?? 

“Michel Bras – even his food of 30 years ago appears contemporary with today.  Working for Tom Kitchin has given me a great understanding of how important it is to have good relationships with great suppliers.
To name but a few: Castle game provides me with the best Scottish wild game and great knowledge of their produce; Robert and AJ at St Brides Chicken– their care and understanding of their product is phenomenal; John Bastinelli the veg rep for Mark Murphy who’s always on call to solve my fruit and veg emergencies. Welch fishmonger, hands down the best fish suppliers in Edinburgh- of course my roots are in the east neuk so David Lowrie Fish deserves a special mention.”

Fantasy dinner party guests? and what would you cook for them?

“Anthony Bourdain; Brian Kinsman [the malt master at Glenfiddich]; Tom Weir of Weir’s Way; Alan Brazil, and it would be steak frites with béarnaise sauce- who doesn’t love that.”

I don’t like…or I’d rather not eat……

“To be honest, I’ll eat anything that’s been prepared with care and respect for the ingredients.”

 

IN

144 Dundas Street, Edinburgh

EH3 5DQ 

(0131 555 5123)

https://www.instagram.com/in_take_out/

About The Author

Catriona Thomson

Catriona picture edits The Scotsman magazine and Scotland On Sunday, aswell as reviewing restaurants for Scotland on Sunday and writing for Scotsman Food and Drink.

Let us know what you think

comments