Top Scottish chef Tom Kitchin is a busy man, and Scotsman food and drink are delighted that he could spare a minute to answer our quick-fire Q & A questions for our Under the grill feature

Chef founder at his Michelin starred The Kitchin restaurant he also supervises; Castle Terrace, The Scran & Scallie, Southside Scran, and The Bonnie Badger, his other restaurants.

His extensive culinary CV began with washing dishes at a local pub as a teen, before training at the Gleneagles Hotel and working alongside some of the world’s most renowned chefs, with stints at some high-class stoves which include Pierre Koffmann and the 3-star, La Tante Claire in London, 3-star Guy Savoy, in Paris and Alain Ducasse’s 3-star, Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo.

Not content to stay in the shadows, Tom became Scotland’s youngest Michelin starred chef-proprietor in January 2007  achieving his first star at 29.

He has also become a well-known media face appearing on television, BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, UKTV Food’s Market Kitchen and The Great British Menu, and judging on Masterchef Final Chef’s Table panel.

Baked scallops in the shell. Picture: www.schnappsphotography.com

 

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

“I would describe my cooking style as honest and seasonal.”

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

“My first job was washing the dishes in the local pub when I was 13. Before opening my first restaurant, The Kitchin, in 2006, I spent quite a few years working 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.”

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

“I love saffron and I particularly like poaching fish in a saffron stock.”

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

“I am pretty calm in the kitchen actually. I would say I’m firm but fair. I have very high expectations on my team and I always strive for consistency.

“If the dishes on the pass are not perfect, I won’t send them to the guests. Some would say I’m controlling as I always want to be in my kitchen to ensure every dish goes out as perfect as it can be but I feel the guests deserve that and pay for that when they dine at The Kitchin.”

What is the flavour of the moment in your kitchen right now? 

“Rhubarb. Delicious.”

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?

“Tea and coffee! I like both equally. I’m not fussy with my tea actually, I drink just a regular English Breakfast, but I also need my daily coffee fix.”

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

“I’m not embarrassed to admit it but definitely crispy pork skin. I just love the flavour and texture.”

Who is your favourite chef? 

“I really admire Jason Atherton, I think he’s doing a wonderful job for the industry and he inspires me to challenge myself.”

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

“My dinner party guests would be Sir Kenny Dalglish whose sense of humour I just love, and Mr Kenny Cameron, my boys’ football coach, who makes me laugh a lot, and of course my wife Michaela as she’s always great company.

“I would probably cook scallops followed by Beef wellington for them. It would be a fun dinner party for sure.”

Beef Wellington would be the star turn at Tom Kitchin’s fantasy menu.

I don’t like…or I’d rather not eat……

“I can’t stand ready meals. I just don’t enjoy eating things when no effort has been made whatsoever.

“When a little bit of love goes into the cooking, it makes all the difference.”

Interior of The Kitchin. Picture Marc Millar Photography

 

The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Leith
Edinburgh
EH6 6LX

(0131 555 1755)

 

 

 

 

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.

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