Did you see Amy Elles of with the BBC’s Hairy Bikers recently?
Bite asked the owner of Fife’s Harbour Café in Elie some foodie questions to dig a little deeper into her background and inspirations.
Amy is one of Scotland’s foremost chefs who represented Scotland on the BBC TV series Great British Menu in 2019 and 2020. She started out as pastry chef at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire before taking up a pastry chef role at Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin starred Fat Duck. She also worked at the Spanish Michelin starred restaurant, Casa Marcelo in Santiago de Compostela, at London’s Moro restaurant and as a private chef travelling the world.
The Harbour Cafe will be re-opening in April of this year and you can read the Bite review from 2021 here. Meantime:
What would you order for your last meal?
Cheese souffle with a small garden salad followed by grilled dover sole, mayonnaise,
pan fried spinach and boiled, peeled potatoes. Washed down with some really good
white Burgundy. Then coffee, petit fours and a Poire William.
What is your favourite restaurant and why?
I recently had the most delicious lunch at my friend's pub, The Kinneuchar Inn. It is just
down the road from where we live. We ate in the private dining room on a Sunday
which we filled with all the family and dined on squid, roast beef, veal chops whilst
drinking some seriously good wine - perfect.
What is your favorite bar and why?
Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC, well known for the illustrations by Ludwig
Bemelman all over the walls. A gin martini is my drink of choice and I always order it dirty
and dry. It’s served in a jug that is probably big enough for two but I’m not sharing!
Most memorable holiday meal and why?
There are so so many! Possibly Sonalon restaurant in Verbier, Switzerland where my
favorite dish was braised rabbit and a delicate beautiful crispy rosti. When I worked in
the Alps we used to save all of our tip money from cooking for guests in the chalet and
go to Sonalon once a week and spend it all. I have some very good memories from my time
Who would you most like to go out to dinner with and why?
Billy Connelly, I think it would be a very funny dinner.
Who would you most like to go drinking with and why?
I would pick Alice Waters, she is pretty legendary and I am sure we would have endless
conversations about her life in food.
What foods do you most remember from your childhood? What is your most memorable
Cooking and food were an integral part of my upbringing and our days were always
planned around what we were going to eat. I fondly remember mum frying veal
escalopes on a Sunday and smelling the garlic, veal and lemon juice, listening to the
soundtrack of When Harry met Sally and knowing that lunch was going to be amazing.
What is your ‘go-to’ quick supper?
I am pretty creative with nothing and get quite the buzz from making a dish with
leftovers and popping some poached eggs on top.
What is your top food hack?
If you need a pan lid but don’t have one then put a little water around the top of the pan
then cling film it. It traps all the air and moisture in.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Potentially a psychologist or a human rights lawyer
Who is your food hero(ine)and why?
Alice Waters because she is a pioneer of beautiful food and writing. I have to mention
Keith Floyd, without whom I may never become a chef.
What is your favourite Edinburgh restaurant and/or bar and why?
The Little Chartroom, need I say more?
What is your comfort food?
Soft polenta and ragu.