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New premises for Company Bakery

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

By Sharon Wilson

It has been a big news week. Democracy threatened, chaos at the ports, two women accosted by the police for having a Costa outdoors and we bade adieu to Monsieur Roux and Jim Haynes.

And this is just the first week of 2021. If we have learnt anything during this pandemic, it is how to soothe our souls with little daily pleasures. Never has morning coffee been so aromatic or fresh sourdough toast been buttered so gratefully. This morning as I enjoyed sourdough ciabatta from Woodlea Stables with Fife honey, I was delighted to read about Company Bakery's new premises in the West End. The more bakeries the better!

Company Bakery is a collaboration involving Ben Reade, a well kent pioneer of Edinburgh's food scene who has a winning mix of insouciance, pedigree and skill. He graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, next travelled to Copenhagen to work at Noma's Nordic Food Lab eventually returning to Reekie to set up The Edinburgh Food Studio.

Ben was a figurehead for a new wave of food punks who would upend the city's foodscape, eschewing fusty old rituals of dining for a focus on native produce and a revival of pickling, curing, foraging and fermenting.

When the Edinburgh Food Studio became a casualty of Covid, Ben astutely developed Company Bakery. Already a wholesale business, in April a home delivery service modelled on an old fashioned milk run was set up to deliver sourdough to people's doors. The timing was spot on. Not only due to the pandemic but as Jay Rayner has pointed out, it is now 'virtually illegal' to eat bread that isn't sourdough.

COVID-19 and Brexit will force us to look even further inward so the home kitchen, garden and good produce look likely to set the scene for our eating habits. Fresh daily sourdough is fundamental to this and for those those of us who enjoy good (unprocessed) food.

Company Bakery's new premises at 5 Devon Place will host a 'bread market' in their yard every Saturday morning.


Here is an old Q and A with Ben - partly for fun and partly because we recently changed websites and want to preserve some past copy.

What is your favourite comfort food? Eggs. in any form, normally with Company Bakery sourdough.

If you could take one cheese to a desert island what would it be? A really old Gouda. I love the way that you get these crunchy crystals alongside the nuttiness.

What is your favourite seasonal recipe at the moment? Right now, I’m really digging James Murray’s (head chef at EFS) creamy pumpkin soup made with crown prince squash, pumpkin seeds, cold pressed pumpkin seed oil.

What is your idea of a romantic dinner a deux? Bottle of Jurancon demi -sec, a tin of cuit foie gras, some crusts of bread, an alphonso mango.

What would you drink? That was such an important question that I already answered it. But if there was still a thirst, I’d go a decent old bottle of old red and drink it in bed.

You recently married, what comprised your wedding meal and drinks? We cooked. It was a mission. We basically emptied the EFS kitchen into a field covered in 2 cheapo gazebos, and we served:

Canapes: Tomato water with confit tomato and chicken liver mouse on rye, hot smoked trout on rye with creme fraiche and smoked caviar. Foie gras and chutney

Starter: Brazilian style black bean soup

Main: Highland cow sirloin, bone marrow bordelaise, dauphinoise.

Dessert: Soft fruit crumble and creme chantilly.

The Cake: I made it.

The Cheese: I can’t tell you all the cheeses. It was for real the best cheese board I’ve ever seen.

Any embarrassing food faux pas? Italians think I use too much parmesan.

What would you pack for a picnic up Arthur’s Seat? I’m not one for fancy picnics. I'd rather tear the bread, bite chunks off a tomato and rip a bit of cheese.

What is your favourite food memory? Eating Indian food on the floor with my hands with my family as a kid.

What is your favourite pudding? Raspberry sorbet

What is your favourite restaurant or bar in Edinburgh and why? I love the selection of wine at Henri.

And elsewhere? I really loved a recent lunch at El Celler di Can Roca. So immediately hedonistic. no reflection required, pure and simple joy.

Who would you most like to go out drinking with and why? He’s clearly a prick, but Silvio Berlusconi would probably be pretty good banter, and might choose some decent wine.

What food/s do you dislike? None really. So long as its good. I hate shit food.

What would order for your last meal? Pasta and pesto - more specifically Trofie con pesto a la Genovese.

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