Nibbles – A Q&A with Chef Stuart Ralston
What would you order for your last meal?
For sure, a Double Cheeseburger from the burger joint in NYC (formerly in the Parker Meridian Hotel), my favourite cheeseburger in NYC, fries, and an ice-cold Stella Artois.
What is your favourite restaurant and why?
My favourite restaurant currently is probably Ikoyi, I had dinner there just before they won their second Michelin star and was blown away, they deserve all the praise they get.
What is your favourite bar and why?
The Back Room in NYC, an old speakeasy bar, great drinks, good fun finding it.
Most memorable holiday meal and why?
My fave holiday meal was on the beach in Barbados. We took our two young sons back to the island where we lived and had a bunch of different local foods, but the combination of being on the beach, cold beer and humble local food made for a very relaxing lunch.
Who would you most like to go out to dinner with and why?
Chef David Chang, I was lucky to live in NYC when he was up and coming and ate a lot of his food back in the day and all his restaurants inspired me to try and do something a little different and throw away any preconceived “rules” of what a restaurant could be.
Who would you most like to go drinking with and why?
I would love to go drinking with Gordon Ramsay, still to this day he inspires me and would love to pick his brains whilst half cut!
What foods do you most remember from your childhood? What is your most memorable childhood meal?
My mum’s food for sure, growing up my favourite was her stuffed pancakes which is an Italian dish called Crespelle, savoury crepes stuffed with Bolognese and covered with bechamel and baked like cannelloni.
What is your ‘go-to’ quick supper?
My quickest meals at home are always what we call a “smorg” dinner, a riff on a smorgasbord of things, so usually , bread and butter, cheese, ham , pickles and some fruit, my kids always eat it so win-win.
What is your top food hack?
Top food hack is sandbagging, I learned this term whilst living in America, it basically means get it all cooked off beforehand. So, for example your cooking a roast dinner for friends, get all the veg cooked off in the morning, get the roast tatties on early, this gives you a chance to get the kitchen tidy before they arrive and just reheat for dinner, easy to then relax and chat with your friends
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
would have loved to become a comic book artist or a rally car driver
Who is your food hero and why?
Still probably Gordon Ramsay, I worked for him and really before all that, his books influenced me massively and still do.
What is your favourite Edinburgh restaurant and/or bar and why?
Hard to choose a fave but I love Ondine, it’s just always brilliant execution and stunning simplicity. Eleanore on Leith walk I think are doing really interesting food but more importantly delicious.
What is your comfort food?
Pizza is my comfort food. I really like Matto pizza in Morningside. I also make it in my Gozney oven in the garden.
Stuart Ralston and Jade Johnston run the Top 100 National Restaurant Aizle and Michelin Bib-awarded Noto. They are due to open tipo this March on Hanover Street. Tipo will be a neighbourhood style restaurant that will focus on simple pastas, dishes to share and vegetables prepared in ways you’d find in Europe alongside artisanal wines. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.