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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

Two youngest chefs to win a Michelin star for Scottish restaurant for Heron in Leith

Lobster Tail, Jerusalem Artichoke and Bone Marrow Tart

Two talented head chefs, Sam Yorke and Tomás Gormley, have been awarded a highly coveted Michelin star for their first restaurant, Heron in Leith. Aged just 25 and 28 years old, the pair are the youngest chefs in Scotland to receive a Michelin star for their restaurant. Edinburgh now has five Michelin star restaurants, with three of these in Leith.

Since opening in 2021, Heron offers farm-to-table fine dining with an a-la-carte menu and two tasting menus that change every few weeks, showcasing the best of Scotland’s seasonal produce including organic fruit & vegetables from The Free Company, wild fish & seafood from Belhaven Lobsters, game & heritage breed meat from MacDuff Butchers from the Lothians and Scottish Borders.

The pair first joined forces as head chefs with a pop-up at-home fine dining experience, Bad Seeds, during COVID which sold out each week. Yorke and Gormley met when they were both working at Seasons (now closed) which was included in the Michelin Guide.

Tomás has an impressive background working across some of the country’s best loved restaurants including (the now closed) Le Roi Fou, two-star Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles and 21212, when it held its Michelin star. As head chef at The Lookout by The Gardener’s Cottage, Tomás was one of six UK chefs named ‘one to watch’ at The Staff Canteen Awards 2020.

Sam Yorke trained at the Edinburgh New Town Cooking School before working at the much applauded (now closed) Castle Terrace, where he graduated from commis to sous chef in less than two years under the guidance of chef Dominic Jack. Sam views chef Dominic as an inspiring mentor and credits him as having taught, ‘proper cooking with classic technique and great attention to detail’. Sam was recently named in The Code 30 under 30 class for 2023/24 as one of the most exciting young chefs in the UK.

Tomás and Sam offer an a la carte and tasting menu championing the best of each season, with dishes on their most recent tasting menu including hand-dived Orkney scallops marinated in garum and topped with blood orange and radish; Hopetoun Estate venison, beetroot, grape and rhubarb, almond and tarragon. On their win Sam commented:

“To say that I’m delighted would be an understatement. It means a great deal to be recognised by such a prestigious organisation for our work at Heron. It’s a real testament to the unwavering focus and dedication of the entire team, without whom we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Tomas added:

“If you had asked me two years ago, when Sam and I sat down to start planning our pop-up Bad Seeds, I would never have imagined this happening. This is a huge achievement for everyone, and I am so grateful that we get to go on this journey with them.”

This now means that Leith has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants per square metre outside of London, making it a foodie capital for the UK. Just last month, the pair launched their second venue, Skua, a wine and small plates bar in Stockbridge. Open from 5:30pm - 12am Thursday - Sunday for cocktails, interesting wines from across the world and a seasonal snack menu.

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