'If you're coming to Edinburgh, get off at Waverley station and come for a wee flavour of Scotland'

The  Staff Canteen

Visitors and residents of Edinburgh will soon get to taste some of chef Peter McKenna of The Gannet's food as he is setting up store at the Bonnie & Wild  foodhall in Edinburgh's St James Quarter.

In an interview with The Staff Canteen, the chef, restaurateur and winner of the TSC Chef of the Year 2020 Award told us how exciting is was to be one of the tenants at the Edinburgh outlet.

Spearheaded by Mac and Wild founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, the food hall is a short walk from Edinburgh's Waverley train station - the second busiest train station in the country after Glasgow, and about as central as can be.

"It's not a move that we were planning," Peter explained, "but it just seemed like such an exciting project - and one of a kind."

He describes the concept as an upmarket take on Lisbon's Mercado da Ribeira, where many of Portugal's top food people have a stall so as to give visitors a flavour of Portugal in a single space.

"I don't know of anything that's the same - they're very ambitious in their scale," he said. The Bonnie and Wild foodhall will have a spot overseen by top meat supplier Macduff beef; a stall for sustainable Scottish seafood provider; another by chef and MasterChef: The Professionals champion Gary Maclean, et al. 

"There's a whiskey bar, a wine bar, beer, and it's all done to a really high spec," Peter said. 

Having secured a large kitchen and with enough seating for 300 people (even with social distancing in place), the chef is excited for many more people to cast their eyes on the food he is most proud of having created in almost a decade at The Gannet.

"The way I see it, you're going to get people coming in there, whether they're visitors to Scotland or visitors to Edinburgh, just getting a wee sample of what's going on." 

"I don't expect everybody to come to The Gannet and have a x-course meal," he said, but "I've just got to boil it down to some of my favourite dishes from the past eight years that people know us for at The Gannet."

Additionally, the site will have its own private dining room, a demonstration kitchen and a revolving-door kitchen meaning there's scope for a host of events and pop-ups as well.

With a great (as of yet deliberately unnamed) head chef at the helm, he said, there's much to be excited for.

A tentative opening date has been set on the 24th June and Peter is confident that he has all his ducks in a row to get the venture off the ground.

"It's going to be great, I've got all my suppliers tuned up - from the guys that dive for the scallops to the foragers and the farms - it's going to be an extension of what we do at The Gannet, just more casual." 

"If you're coming to Edinburgh, get off at Waverley station and come for a wee flavour of Scotland - it's a really cool concept, it's what we need at the moment. Plus it's great for Scottish food, it's great for people's understanding of provenance and our ingredients." 

The venture will be the third overseen by the chef, with his Glasgow flagship and his El Perro Negro gourmet burger business (of which there are two outlets, one in Finnieston and the other on Woodlands road) launched in 2018.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th May 2021

'If you're coming to Edinburgh, get off at Waverley station and come for a wee flavour of Scotland'