Under the Grill: Dan Ashmore

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

BSK Edinburgh’s executive head chef Dan Ashmore, 31, has worked in top fine-dining restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Restaurant Tom Aikens and The Square in London, Michelin-starred Number One at the Balmoral, Dean Banks at The Pompadour in Edinburgh and the Strathearn at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire.

He describes being appointed executive head chef of Bread Street Kitchen & Bar in Edinburgh as his “dream job”.

“Getting the chance to work alongside the person who influenced me to pick up an apron from an early age and start a career as a chef isn’t something that comes along every day,” he said.

Most popular dish so far?

Most definitely the Beef Wellington [Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish]. In our first week of business we were serving up to 35 a day – even at £48 per person.

Is the menu exceptionally expensive, as some commentators have suggested?

The prices reflect what we pay for quality ingredients and cooking it with lots of love and care. I’ve paid more and received worse.

How important is sourcing Scottish?

Very. For me, and for guests, sourcing local is massively important, as is building and maintaining a good relationship with our suppliers. I’m not phoning an anonymous central supplier in London. I communicate every day with our local suppliers. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and it adds an extra layer of accountability. Their reputation is as important as ours.

Do you get to devise your own dishes?

Yes. The core recipes are the same no matter which outlet of BSK you are eating in. That consistency lends a homely feeling. But the head chef of each branch of BSK does their own signature dish to highlight provenance and local.

Mine is the Cullen Skink with a twist: a touch of whisky, fresh Shetland mussels, curry powder, saffron and proper smoked North Sea haddock – not the fake yellow dyed stuff. We will always do a ‘specials’ option of local dishes. You won’t get that or our West Coast langoustines or haggis bites in London BSKs, for example.

Tell us the most important lesson you’ve learned from Gordon Ramsay?

“The importance of seasoning. Always taste what you’re cooking and taste as you go,” he replies. “That applies to home cooks too.”

Read part two using the link below.

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