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Campbell Mickel
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Merienda
30 North West Circus Place,,
Edinburgh,
EH3 6TP
0131 220 2020

Why Merienda?
Merienda is traditionally a snack between meals with roots in Spain but now recognised throughout the Mediterranean. It’s the perfect name for our small plate dining menu.
 
You change your menu every 4 weeks what is your fave dish at the moment? 
I am constantly recommending our Dornoch salmon. It’s got a crisp sear on one side giving fantastic texture (essential for salmon) while remaining just-cooked inside.  It’s lovely with spinach with cream, nutmeg and a hint of garlic. Simple is often the best when cooking.
 
What is the best way to cook a turnip?
Our last menu had Turnip Fondant with a pressed Ox Cheek Gateau. We braised the neep a light beef broth and then roasted it in butter. It was delicious! 

What is your favourite Kitchen gadget and why?
Old school must be cling film for obvious reasons. However, I recently bought a Thermomix.  Similar to a commis chef but yet to take a sickie on a Monday! 

Any cheffy ‘pet hates’? 
A few. The obsession with fermented for me is hilarious. It's a fad that will be looked back on with much mirth. I saw fermented sheep dung on a (very famous restaurants) menu. I mean come on! Really? 
 
What would you do if you had any ‘spare time’? 
Sleep would be welcome but a waste so probably go to more restaurants. Take a drive to Killin, weed the garden, forage in Perthshire. Endless list if I ever slow down. 
 
Who would you most like to go out to dinner with and why apart from your lovely wife Giselle of course? 
I have some wonderful clients at my private chef business Exec Chef Cuisine and at Merienda some amazing customers who often ask me to sit and enjoy a glass of wine with them after dinner. I so rarely get the chance but I assure you I'd love to. 

What is your ambition? 
I've been cooking since 1985 and I still throw myself into everything I do. I guess I just want to be as good at this cooking thing as I can be. That's about learning. Not about awards or plaudits. They are nice but won't mean much when I've gone. 

What is your idea of a romantic dinner? 
Giselle works really hard too so when she comes home from work and I've maybe taken a night off the house is full of amazing aromas and a glass of Primitivo is waiting. It's just about making a little effort and showing appreciation for each other. 

What would you pack for a picnic up Arthur’s Seat?
Go see our friends in Mellis, Susie in East Coast Cured. Pack our Focaccia from Merienda and a bottle of Pic Poul and cut some fruit. Two blankets, one to sit on and one to wrap around us. I love Edinburgh. I'm proud of our beautiful city. Nowhere shows its beauty quite like the view from up there. 

What would you serve your mum at Merienda this Mother’s Day (March 31 y’all)
Mum loves the small plates thankfully. So I guess I'll be recommending our newest creations on that menu. The feedback will be golden! 
 
What is your favourite restaurant or bar in Edinburgh and why? 
I've always adored the food Martin Wishart cooks in Leith. I don't think he can be beaten. When we finish a shift you can usually find me in The Bailie.  

And elsewhere?
 Kalui in Palawan. It was an incredible meal. Most surprising. 

Who is the most famous person you have cooked for? 
Most of the Royals, titans of industry movie stars and rock stars. Fed lots of them however what gave me the most pleasure was cooking in Bute House for the First Minister and her guests. That was a real honour. 
 
What would you order for your last meal?
My Mum's prawn avocado. My wife's roast chicken and my own rice pudding. Simple tastes but my favourite food generally is!

What cheese would you take to a Desert Island and why?
A Cheddar Barwheys (RIP) or a good strong Mull.... Ooh or smoked Gubeen. Hardish cheese is easier to brush sand off.... Can you imagine dropping a soft Brie in the sand! Gaaaads! 

What is your fave holiday destination and why? 
The Island of Coron in Western Philippines. If you've been you'll know. Stunning vistas, crystal clear azure seas, weather is amazing and the people are the very best! 
 

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