In the Spotlight with Neil Forbes, Café St Honoré

Each month I’ll be introducing you to some of my favourite chefs who are making a difference in the world of food. To kick off this new series we meet the award winning chef Neil Forbes. Neil is Chef/Director at Edinburgh’s magical Café St Honoré, which boasts a Parisian feel as well as a very welcoming atmosphere as you walk through its doors in the heart of the capital’s New Town.

As well as being a member of the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance in partnership with Highland Park Single Malt Whisky, Neil is also an advocate of baking your own bread and only last Friday made a guest appearance on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kitchen Café to discuss the very topic, which currently is very much in vogue. To celebrate Real Bread Maker Week Neil will be hosting the Real Bread Supper at Cafe St Honoré with Andrew Whitley from Bread Matters and Slow Food Edinburgh on Wednesday 15 May 2013, 7.30pm, £45.

1. Name: Neil Forbes

2. Current position: Chef/Director at Cafe St Honoré

3. What is your signature dinner party dish? My signature dinner party dish would have to be a simple, classic Coq Au Vin.

4. Who encouraged you to get into the kitchen? My father was a chef and was a huge influence on me, so I would say him.  We would cook together when I was a teenager and I have many happy memories making madeira cakes, stews and soups.

5. What store cupboard essentials could you not live with out? My favourite store cupboard essentials would be: eggs for a late night omelette, a good loaf of bread, unsalted butter, good coffee, and a pot of home made raspberry jam – I’m addicted to the stuff!

6. What five dishes should everyone be able to cook from scratch? Five dishes everyone should know how to cook from scratch should be a great pot of broth or soup, a humble meat stew, sausage and mash, a vibrant and colourful curry or tagine and a pasta dish like spag bol.

7. Which five famous people would you like to invite to your own home to cook for? Terence Conran, Holly Willoughby, Barrack Obama, the gardener Monty Don and Paul Smart (motorcycle racer).

8. What do the contents of your own fridge at home say about you? My fridge is full of fruit and veg for the guinea pigs, and the family of course!  Also in there is a bottle of champagne for a surprise celebration, pate, salami, good butter, a selection of cheeses and chutneys, a few Innis and Gunn beers plus a St Mungo or two.  With 2 boys in the house we go through about 5 pints of milk a day at home!

 9. What do you to relax and unwind when you’re not cooking up a storm? I love gardening, growing fruit and vegetables.  We were recently given an allotment for the restaurant at Queen Margaret’s University and its coming along nicely!  I also like to disappear on my motorbike on my day off down into the borders.  I’m known to play the occasional game of golf, often with other chefs!

10. What sort of legacy would you like to leave in the world of food? I’d like to be remembered for being someone who taught the next generation of chefs to be proud of their local produce, recipes and traditions, and that we should never be embarrassed by our culture.  Also for promoting simple, unfussy, unpretentious food with great taste.

Cafe St Honoré, North West Thistle Street Lane, Edinburgh
To book call 0131 2662211 or email


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