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Flavour Profile Q&A: Dan Ashmore, executive head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, Edinburgh

Dan Ashmore, the executive head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s new Bread Street Kitchen in Edinburgh, tells us about his favourite ingredient and love of Drumstick Squashies.

Published: November 29, 2021

What’s your favourite ingredient?

Scottish venison is still undervalued. It’s wild, amazing, abundant and it’s almost a crime not to use it more.

The Highlands’ big red deer are incredible to see in the wild. Venison is healthy and versatile, and you should substitute beef or lamb for it, as it’s even more delicious.

I think people have had bad experiences with badly prepared venison; it’s so lean that it can get as tough as old boots when cooked too long. Served rare or medium rare, it’s unbeatable.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
l love being in front of the TV smashing it with a bag of Drumstick Squashies. I have a real sweet tooth, so anything sugary is a guilty pleasure.

Tell us about your first food memory
There’s a photo of me as a toddler, in my element, stirring a huge pot of whole onions and potatoes. However, my first real memory is making chutney with my Grandma in her kitchen, using the apples from her garden. I must have been around six or seven. 

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

It has to be Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh. The food is rich, delicious and classic, and it reminds me of the fabulous restaurants I used to cook in when I was in London. 

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What would be your last supper?

Fish and chips, but they would have to be from the van that’s recently opened on the beach in East Lothian. It’s amazing sitting in the middle of the beach enjoying really good fish and chips.

Starter or pudding?

Pudding, always, but I’m a sucker for the cheese trolley too.

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Do you have any food hates?

Not really. I’m happy to try anything, and have even enjoyed foods like Chinese fermented ‘century eggs’. But if I was pushed, it would be overcooked and limp broccoli.

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

The food would be made up of dishes from top chefs I’ve worked with, and enjoyed in the company of top chefs, I’m pretty obsessive about this industry.

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The starter would be chef Phil Howard’s Scottish langoustine tails with Parmesan gnocchi and truffle butter, then the main course would be chef Tom Aikens’s seasonal wild salmon served lightly grilled with fresh young peas and wild mushrooms.

For dessert I would serve Jeff Galvin’s tarte tatin – it’s served in his restaurants as a portion for two to share, but I can eat a whole one on my own.

My guests would include my inspirational new boss Gordon Ramsay and the late and very great Anthony Bourdain – he was brilliant at creating classic, no-nonsense food. I’d also invite Daniel Humm of 11 Madison Park in New York. I took my wife there for her 30th birthday, and I’d like to talk to the man who created such a fabulous restaurant.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?
London. I spent a few years cooking there and the dynamic food scene has been responsible for changing people’s attitudes about British food. For me, it’s the gastronomic capital of Europe.

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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