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

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

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.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall  – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 16 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 560,000 followers across Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 6th May 2021

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