The Head Chef for Leith’s at the EICC, Guy Taylor, and his long- standing, right hand man, Iain McLean are perennial culinary allies. Hailing from the Midlands, Guy first met Iain, who is Edinburgh born and bred, in the kitchen of the Scottish capital, Sheraton Grand in 1997.
After forging both a friendship and a culinary bond, the chefs went their separate ways, working in many of France and Italy’s fine hotels and restaurants.
Reunited in the beautifully appointed EICC kitchen 12 years ago, in Prue Leith’s team, theirs has been an enduring and endlessly enjoyable partnership, working for Leith’s, who have always been in the vanguard in supporting local producers and the best seasonal ingredients.
Central to Leith’s style is Prue Leith’s conviction that food should be simple and excellent, be it a sandwich, salad or grand gala dinner.
Leith’s use top quality Scottish ingredients and develop excellent relationships with local suppliers, encouraging the use of speciality local ingredients from large and small producers. Leith’s at the EICC’s menus reflect the company’s ethos that food should be simple, fresh and delicious. They are designed to meet the requirements for the diverse events that the EICC attracts and to showcase Scotland’s outstanding produce.
As Guy explains:
“Leith’s at the EICC are still true to the original cultural and culinary values set out by Prue herself, which are fundamental to the company and our style of cooking. We are uncompromising in our use of fresh, natural ingredients and we source the best seasonal produce available.
For example, we serve autumnal and winter roots and Game, both in warming lunchtime casseroles to our international conference delegates and fine dining menus for local corporate guests. Our marvellous winter salads using Brussel sprouts were a revelation, astonishing tasters when they found out the ingredients!
At the EICC we are fortunate to have guests from across the world who have a particular interest in Scotland and its larder, and we pride ourselves in showcasing local ingredients in the Leith’s simple and modern style, in such dishes as Cullen Skink tarts, Haggis Bon Bons and Cranachan Brulee.
We love to serve Scotland ‘with a twist’ and embrace elements from around the world to complement local ingredients. Following a visit to the street food markets of Shoreditch and Spitalfields last year, we have created and served funky dishes influenced by South America and the Middle East using flavours and spices to bring out another side to the flavours of local meat, fish and vegetables.
Simplicity is best though, with great ingredients and in the late summer when Scottish berries are the best in the world, we do as little as possible with them and let their natural gorgeousness shine!!!
In the following recipe, I have coupled our wonderful Blacketyside Farm raspberries with homemade shortbread for a real Scottish treat”.
For the shortbread
75g caster sugar + 2 tablespoons for dusting
150g unsalted Scottish butter
Beat butter and sugar together until pale and smooth
Mix in flour, bring together and rest in fridge for 40 minutes
Roll out dough to the thickness of 5mm and cut into 8 rounds
Place on greaseproof paper on an oven tray and bake at 180c until golden (8-12min)
Dust with the remaining caster sugar and leave to cool
For the filling
110ml double cream (lightly whipped)
1 vanilla pod (split and seeds scraped out) 1tsp icing sugar
1 piping bag
Mix crowdie, vanilla seeds and icing sugar together
Lightly fold in whipped cream
Carefully pipe cream into mix onto the centre of 4 of the shortbread rounds, leaving an edge the size of a raspberry around it
Arrange raspberries around cream mix and top with other shortbread biscuits; add a further raspberry to garnish
Serve with pouring cream from your local dairy
Recipe by Leith’s at the EICC.