A Passion and Pride for Scotland’s Natural Larder
I first heard about Mark Greenaway before he hit the Edinburgh food scene when he was chef at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in the Borders. Tales of escaping pigs running across the lawn in front of the kitchen window would’ve been a sight to behold.
Within months of his arrival in Scotland’s capital, Mark had earned his first, of many, accolades; the Scottish Hotel Awards ‘Rising Star, Chef of the Year 2011’ and I knew this was a man to watch.
Over the years I’ve known him, he has gone from strength to strength – representing Scotland on The Great British Menu, appearing on Sunday Brunch and a regular spot on STV’s The Fountainbridge Show; writing for heraldscotland.com, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland Now. What impresses me so much about this talented, spiky-haired man is that he is one of the most approachable chefs I’ve come across. Social media savvy, I’ve sent him many a tweet, FB messages asking for advice on some culinary difficulty, making a reservation or just for a wee blether about the staff breakfasts he serves on a Saturday morning.
The words, ‘wanky-cheffy-stuff’ have featured on many occasions, a tongue-in-cheek poke at his innovative and creative style is all taken with good humour. This is not a slur on his abilities, far from it. It’s about his personality, his humour, his passion, plus I expect the same in return.
What Mark has done for the food industry in Scotland is phenomenal. His passion for our produce and producers is almost an obsession with him. He represents Scotland and her food with a ferocity that takes my breath away. And, behind every great man there has to be a woman, doesn’t there? Nicola, his fiancé (when are you going to name the day, Chef?) is there with him and I’m sure she is a guiding hand in their partnership; always professional, always with a smile and, I bet, always keeping Mark on his toes!
At the end of last year, his loyal following were teased about something big; the ether was full speculation and rumour from opening another restaurant, to marrying Nicola or perhaps there was going to be the patter of tiny feet! However, the biggest bit of hot gossip was a book, something that was furiously denied by all concerned. Despite his protestations, Mark had indeed written a book that I hope will finally put the sceptics in their place – the falsehood that Scottish food is rubbish! We are blessed with the most amazing food, produce and some of the most gifted people in the food industry and Mark Greenaway is one of them!
The launch date for PERCEPTIONS (the name of his book) is 12th July and is based on Mark’s own experiences when he has travelled abroad, promoting Scottish food, only to find out that most of those he came in contact with had preconceptions of what Scottish food was about. PERCEPTIONS will debunk the myths, fables and lies, opening the eyes of non-believers that Scottish food is exceptional. It will feature nine of the producers and their products that Mark uses in his kitchen; there will be his stories about what motivates him, what inspires him and how he got to where he is today. Oh and recipes, over 250 of them (this is no small tome).
It takes a fresh look at our cuisine in a modern form, using latest techniques and culinary innovations. He says it’s not just a book for the professionals but one that people like me (the amateur cook) can delve into, but most of all to change the perception of Scottish food and to be recognised as one of the best food destinations in the world!
Those of us that live in Scotland already know this, so let’s kick arse and get the rest of the globe to recognise it too!
Perceptions can be pre-ordered from Restaurant Mark Greenaway
Release date: 12th July 2016
Photographs © Copper Mango, Mark Greenaway
© Lea Harris, Off the Eaten Track, 2016