Chef Stuart Muir is the executive head chef at DINE in Edinburgh. He was born in Stranraer in 1969 and education at Stranraer Academy. His ambition at school: “I always wanted to be a chef. There was nothing else I ever really wanted to do”.
Growing up in is very remote part of Dumfries and Galloway and it’s untouched wilderness, he learned many skills that still serve him well today including how to tie his own Flies for fishing the local rivers for wild trout. His father would also take Stuart shooting for pheasant, duck, geese and pigeon on the nearby moors bring the birds home and hang them up in the families garage. He understood from an early age how to pluck and gut the catch and then alongside his mother in the kitchen the skills of cooking fresh game and fish. This upbringing forged his passion for local, seasonal produce that has been present throughout his career to the opening of his own restaurant, Dine in Edinburgh.
To this day he still holds the accolade of being the youngest Scottish chef to be awarded a coveted Michelin Star.
Chef’s Table wanted to find out a little more about what other influences help space his menus today of classic brasserie style dishes with an emphasis on Scottish seasonality and locally sourced ingredients.
CT: Which Chef/s influenced you in the past? Who continuous to influence you now?
SM: For me, it’s always been Rick Stein for his love of seafood and travelling. His innovative dishes never fail to impress.
CT: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)
SM: Eleven Madison Park in New York. Owned by esteemed chef Daniel Humm, its evolution in food and culinary experience has put it top of my wish list. I’m desperate to try the famed ten-course tasting menu.
Website – https://www.elevenmadisonpark.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElevenMadisonPark/
CT: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?
SM: Dining out and experiencing great food made with locally sourced ingredients doesn’t have to be expensive. When we launched Dine back in 2015 we saw this gap in the Edinburgh market so this has become what the restaurant is all about – affordable yet innovative seasonal fayre in relaxed luxury surroundings.
CT: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”
SM: Grilled langoustines with garlic butter and some crusty bread washed down with Charles Heidsieck’s Blanc des Millénaires
CT: What is the one piece of kitchen equipment you could not do without and which would you never use or want to see in your kitchen?
SM: I couldn’t be without my specialist set of knives and there are other’s in the kitchen I wouldn’t use or try.
CT: What is your favourite dish on the current menu that you have created in the past 6 months and why.
SM: I am loving our hand-dived scallop starter dishes which comes in various incarnations. It’s also a customer winner too.
CT: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?
SM: It would have to be legendary French chef and restaurateur Georges Auguste Escoffier. He popularised and updated French cooking and his disciplined methods and techniques made him a modern cooking visionary.
My Favourite Tables– Two restaurants I have visited and why?
- Paul Tamburrini’s eponymous restaurant in Edinburgh is a blend of French cuisine and Scottish ingredients – it’s an exceptional experience for the diner and I love his passion for locally sourced produce, especially game.
Website – www.paultamburrini.co.uk
2) Frog by Scottish chef Adam Handling in Convent Garden is another favourite. His technical skills coupled with inimitable cooking style makes for an outstanding experience.
Website – www.frogbyadamhandling.com
Michelin starred Stuart Muir is executive chef and co-owner of the multi-award winning brasserie, Dine. www.dineedinburgh.co.uk 0131 218 1818
Adam Handling, owner of The Frog E1 has traveled a short distance to Liverpool Street and today (26th of June) opens Bean & Wheat, a coffee shop and deli.
Bean & Wheat will be focusing on using only locally-sourced artisan ingredients and supplies from London-based coffee roasters and bakeries. It will be open for breakfast and lunch to eat in or takeaway. Adam and the team at The Frog E1 have developed the menu to reflect the innovative, flavoursome combinations that regular customers at The Frog E1 have been delighting in for just over a year now, but in a more relaxed non formal setting, where Adam will be looking to again champion a ‘no waste’ philosophy.
There will be a wide range of breads, baked by local bakeries such as the E5 Bakehouse, including a Hackney Wild loaf and Walnut Rugbrød (a Danish dark rye sourdough). E5 Bakehouse have been making bread in the local area for many years and have a “mother dough” starter for the sourdough breads that is older than chef himself. To go with the amazing bread selections customers will be able to choose from an array of daily changing savoury and sweet toppings presented in small glass jars that the kitchen at The Frog E1 will prepare and supply each morning, depending on what the chefs have been cooking. An example of what is planned is a delicious duck liver parfait utilising the duck livers from the 200 ducks which the restaurant uses every month that would otherwise potentially be wasted. The chefs will also be creating rich chunky pork terrine, and an earthy bean hummus which is drizzled with a herb oil made using the tops of the herbs which are usually thrown away by chefs.
Bean and Wheat will also serve salads as part of their offering, using seasonal vegetable off-cuts, such as cauliflower stalks, grains and beans. For those with a sweet tooth, you will be able to choose from a selection of retro-inspired cakes, freshly baked by the chefs.
Alongside a range of blended and single origin coffees from independent London roasters, teas from luxury tea company Newby Teas will be Adam’s very own Black & White cold-pressed juice range. Adam created the Black & White presses as part of the company’s effort to reduce food waste. The presses are made using only handpicked and delicious fruit and vegetables that are slightly misshapen and so rejected by restaurants and retailers. The juices will be cold-pressed locally each day and delivered to The FrogE1and Bean & Wheat. who also offer an extensive range of juice combinations to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Adam Handling says “I’m hugely excited about the opening of Bean & Wheat, I think there’s a real demand for innovative food to grab and go. On the other hand, food wastage is an issue that’s increasingly important in our industry, and one that’s particularly close to my heart. Restaurants tend to waste so much food on a day-to-day basis, and we are trying to tackle this – in the next few years we hope to reach zero-waste status.”
The company hopes to eventually eliminate food wastage in all The Frog restaurants and Bean & Wheat, by ensuring that nothing is thrown away needlessly. Any wastage that can’t be used by the kitchen is sent off-site to be made into compost, which they utilise to grows the majority of its own fruit, vegetables and herbs. The Frog’s Flagship restaurant, opening in Covent Garden this September, will also contribute its by-products to Bean & Wheat.
Bean & Wheat is situated in East London on Artillery Passage, a narrow street just off Artillery Lane, a well used route that links Spitalfields with the City.
The Flying Scotsman:
Chef Adam Handling could be described as the “Flying Scotsman”. His culinary career is certainly steaming ahead with cook books, artisan chocolates, olive oil and even his own branded Gin. His restaurant, Adam Handling at Caxton and Adam himself have received critical acclaim and accolades over the past months since he came to the attention of restaurant goers, foodies and the avid fans of the BBC MasterChef, the professionals in 2013, where he reached the finals.
Adam has recently parted company with the Hotel Group which housed his restaurant and Adam Handling at the Caxton is to be rebranded with a new image and a pared down menu, introducing a grill restaurant, offering steaks and burgers. So the leap forward, excuse the pun, for Adam is the opening of the first of a series of restaurant he plans to open over the next 8-10 months. Welcome The Frog (brilliant logo concept created by the inimitable @fatpunkstudio )
Plans will see another two “Frog” concept locations and an eponymous flagship restaurant in the West End. The first Frog will be found in East London in part of the Old Truman Brewery (Hanbury Street/Brick Lane area). When Favourite Tables meet with Adam and the team, Head Chef Steve Kerr, Development Chef Jamie Park and Sous Chef Connor they were all on site, shirt sleeves rolled up. Work was just starting on converting what was previously an Italian restaurant in Ely’s Yard.
When we re-visited a few days later, lots had changed in the kitchen area, the bar and cocktail area.
Equipment suppliers, installation companies, builders, electrical engineers and Adam were all onsite and working very hard to meet the opening night date of 7th June. When asked how confident Adam was to having everything ready for the 7th, his immediate reply, “oh we will be open”
The menu, still in development, will be based on a 5 course taster menu, at around £40 per head, which will be listed on a daily blackboard. As much as possible, ingredients will be sourced from the local suppliers on their doorstep. So if they only have six mackerel then the course will be replaced on the Blackboard when all have been sold. When pushed for a little more detail of the types of dishes available the detail of “Mad as a Box of Frogs’ were explained: Frogs Legs and Chicken lolly pops with a Wild Garlic emulsion served in a wooden box. An A La Carte menu is also under development, which, knowing Adam as we do, will be worth waiting for.
On the day of our revisit to Ely’s Yard, it had just been announced who this years BBC Great British Menu chefs would be and Adam Handling was confirmed as representing the Scottish Region.
Although filming had taken place several months ago, whilst he had been competing in the Chef of the Year, Adam remained tight lipped about how he got on and the outcome. Some secrets are meant to be kept!
We will be glued to the television when the programmes are aired later this month and cheering him on nonetheless.
The Frog, 2 Ely’s Yard, Old Truman Brewery Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR
As has happened to so many runners-up on Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, not winning the BBC’s Master Chef 2013 seems to have given Adam Handling a Golden Ticket to success.
Adam started his culinary training aged 16 as the first ever apprentice chef at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. He continued building his experience working as First Commis Chef at Rhodes 24 in London and then Sous Chef at the Malmaison Hotel, Newcastle.
Adam then took up his first Head Chef position at Fairmont St Andrews, responsible for the fine dining restaurant ‘Esperante’. The youngest ever Head Chef within the Fairmont group, Adam achieved two AA rosettes for the restaurant and won numerous awards during his time there, including ’Scottish Young Chef of the Year 2011’. In June this year he was awarded the prestigious ACORN award. At just 24 he was certainly the youngest to be honoured this year and is possibly the youngest ever.
Adam now has his name over the door at Adam Handling at Caxton in St. James where, with his team of 22, he is enthusiastically developing its reputation as one of the most enjoyable and noteworthy London restaurants.
Adam and his team are united in their commitment to using seasonal, low food-miles ingredients, sourced from small, family run suppliers. Drawing on their advice and knowledge, Adam chooses ingredients for his mouth-watering dishes, only when they are at their freshest.
This passion for locally sourced products is epitomised by the on-site honey, produced from bee hives on the rooftop of the building that is used throughout Caxton’s cooking, including their decadent homemade chocolates.
When we spoke to Adam he commented at how overwhelmed he is with the support and encouragement he is receiving from the public. “We are running full service all of the time at the moment” and it seems that customers are intrigued by Adam’s style of cooking, enquiring what new dishes he plans to introduce in time for their next visit.
Dinner by Heston is Adam’s favourite tables. He and girlfriend Victoria love this restaurant and have returned a number of times.
We love the dishes that Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts creates and admire the attention to detail delivered on every plate.
For my birthday this year I had the experience of the Chef’s Table. Something I would recommend everyone to try at least once.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA Tel. +44(0)20 7201 3833
“Am I allowed to have two Favourite Tables”, Adam asked. How could we refuse one of the most exciting culinary talents around! “Because I have visited Restaurant Story a lot and really enjoy the style of this place and of course Tom Sellers food”.
RESTAURANT STORY, 201 Tooley Street, London. SE1 2UE.
Tel. 020 7183 2117
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About Favourite Tables
Our ethos is about places people love – always has been, always will be.
We know that most people choose where to eat based on recommendations from friends and family, a social interaction – a Social Marketplace
Favourite Tables is just that – our recommendations and reviews are from people who love where they go and go back to.
The popularity of each Favourite Tables restaurant is assured on the Social Marketplace and through the restaurant reviews they receive.
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