This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scottish writer, poet, and playwright Sir Walter Scott. On Thursday 6th May, Edinburgh fine dining establishment Wedgwood the Restaurant partnered up with the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club as part of the nationwide celebrations to create a menu featuring traditional Scottish dishes and produce shaped by the Scott's works.
I spoke to co-owner and award-winning head chef Paul Wedgwood about the inspirations behind his menu, his favourite Scottish produce, and his words of wisdom for home chefs.
What is your most memorable meal?
It has to be when I had lunch at Noma in Copenhagen. The whole experience from walking through the doors was just incredible. They opened the door for me, greeted me by name and chatted to me about my interests, it is the little things that made it memorable. Noma is my style of cooking, so the food was outstanding, I really enjoyed a turnip they had on the menu. It was like a turnip juice that you drank through a straw - I cannot even describe how good it was.
What is your favourite kitchen tool?
Now it is my sous vide stick. Since the restaurant has been closed and we are only offering takeaways, I have been spending more time at home so I am using it often.
What ingredient could you not live without?
This is a really hard one. I have to say haggis. I just love it; it is so versatile and you can do so much with it. I have made everything from guinea pig to squirrel haggis.
If you could have a meal with - or cook a meal for - anyone, who would it be?
I would have all my friends from all around the world in one room at the same time. That would be the dream.
What inspired each of the dishes on your menu for Wedgwood’s collaboration with Edinburgh’s Sir Walter Scott Club?
My Andrew Fairservice nettle soup was inspired by the novel Rob Roy and The Bride of Lammermoor heavily influenced my Almond and Strawberry Trifle. I also took inspiration from The Cook and Housewife's Manual by Margaret Dods, it is full of very traditional recipes; of course, I Wedgwood-ified the menu too.
Do you have a favourite dish from this menu?
I really like the Stoved Howtodie and the Lamb’s tongue with tripe and cucumber.
Do you have a favourite Sir Walter Scott story?
Not yet, I haven’t read any of the novels. I have promised the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club I will. I am going to start with The Heart of Midlothian.
What is your favourite Scottish produce?
Fish and Shellfish. We have some of the world’s best. The super cold water gives the shellfish a sweet flavour which I love.
If you could give one piece of advice to a home chef what would it be?
If you are thinking of cooking or trialling a difficult dish, practice it on your own. When you are entertaining, cook to your own ability. Keep it simple; you’ll enjoy yourself more.
What meal would you choose as your last supper?
Scallops or langoustines to start, followed by a steak and then a cheese board to finish. All washed down with a nice glass of our Wedgwood Rioja.
Wedgwood the Restaurant is set to reopen on Wednesday 19th May. Reservations can be made via: www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk
For a full listing of talks, exhibitions, and events marking the 250th Anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth across the UK, please visit: www.walterscott250.com