Less than a year ago another new kid on the block hit Edinburgh’s dining scene, embracing the very best of Scotland’s home grown produce. Blackfriars opened in the heart of the capitals Old Town in March 2013 and offers honest produce and interesting drinks in a casual setting.
Run by chef Andrew Macdonald and partner Georgie Binder, the couple are seasoned hospitality professionals with experience both in Edinburgh and further afield including Georgie’s native Australia.
Andrew’s cooking takes fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and enhances them with an intuitive understanding of flavour. It’s a simple, yet technically accomplished approach, which relies on excellent produce sourced from a select list of predominately Scottish producers whose quality is second to none. Using suppliers such as Peelham Farm, Grierson Organic, Burnside Farm Foods, Ochil Foods, and Phantassie Organics is an integral part of ensuring diners at Blackfriars experience food of the highest level and showcases Scotland’s larder at its best.
To kick off our chef profile series for 2014, Andrew steps into the spotlight, allowing us to find out a little more about the man behind the food at Blackfriars in Edinburgh.
1. Name: Andrew Macdonald
2. Current position: Chef/proprietor Blackfriars
3. What is your signature dinner party dish? Braised beef cheek, lardons, onions, mushrooms with mashed potato. Simple, hearty and tasty.
4. Who encouraged you to get into the kitchen? My mum is a great home cook and passed on her enthusiasm to my brother, sister and myself. She makes a mean lasagne.
5. What store cupboard essentials could you not live without? Garlic. Capers, anchovies, chilli flakes. All you need for a quick pasta sauce. I do love smoked paprika too.
6. What five dishes should everyone be able to cook from scratch? I think everyone should learn to cook what they like to eat, whether it’s pizza, a Sunday Roast or a rhubarb crumble. Food cooked with care and quality ingredients tastes better than anything you can buy off the shelf.
7. What five famous people would you like to invite to your own home to cook for? Gordon Matta-Clark, Umberto Eco, Nick Cave, Ray Harryhausen and Fergus Henderson.
8. What do the contents of your own fridge at home say about you? There isn’t much in there: a few nearly empty jars of mustard, some milk and butter, and a lovely jar of rowan jelly from friends, The Gardener’s Cottage. Draw your own conclusions!
9. What do you do to relax when you’re not cooking up a storm? A lie in is a real luxury. I do enjoy a wee trip to the cinema, we are spoiled for choice in Edinburgh.
10. What sort of legacy would you like to leave in the world of food? If people come to us and enjoy their experience, then that’s enough for me.
Blackfriars Bar and Restaurant
57-61 Blackfriars Street
Tel: 0131 558 8684
Photography by www.benrobertsphotography.com