Michelin chef cooks up plan for two stars in Edinburgh
A MICHELIN-STARRED chef fêted by Gordon Ramsay is planning to relocate to Scotland in a bid to gain a second star.
Paul Kitching, whose Juniper restaurant is the only Michelin-rated establishment in the Manchester area, is widely seen as one of Britain's most imaginative chefs.
The Scotsman has learned that the 42-year-old is scouring the capital's New Town for a prime site for a "restaurant with rooms". It is thought Queen Street is the most likely venue for the new site, which the chef said is likely to cost about 2 million.
The move is expected to provide a huge boost to the culinary scene in the capital, despite concerns that there is increasing competition for customers.
Edinburgh already boasts three Michelin-starred restaurants – Martin Wishart and The Kitchin, both in Leith, and Number One at the Balmoral Hotel.
Kitching has wowed critics with his "molecular gastronomy". Ramsay has dubbed him "the shining star of the north".
Kitching will be closing down his famed Juniper restaurant in Altrincham within the next few weeks to move up to Edinburgh to try to clinch a deal for a site and plans to have his new outlet up and running for Christmas.
He said yesterday that Edinburgh had edged out London to become the new location for Juniper because the competition in the latter was too "cut-throat".
Kitching said he had been impressed by the city's culinary scene on a number of visits, and had set his heart on finding a prestigious location in the New Town.
"I've been to Edinburgh a number of times over the last ten years, particularly for the Festival, and have quite a number of friends in the city. It's a shockingly beautiful place," he said.
"I've eaten in a number of fantastic places like Harvey Nichols, the Balmoral and Martin Wishart's restaurant, and it's obvious Edinburgh has a very strong market to sustain so many good restaurants.
"I'm very keen on the New Town because of the shape and fabric of the buildings there, and I've already been to see a few sites, although nothing is confirmed yet."
Kitching, who entered the catering business as a potwasher, notched up his Michelin star within 18 months of opening Juniper in 1995 and has held on to it ever since.
He has admitted to a growing frustration at not being able to secure a second Michelin star, despite Juniper being named one of the UK's top 20 restaurants in last year's Good Food Guide.
Wishart said: "This is fantastic news for Edinburgh. Paul is very highly regarded and I wish him well.
"The city has plenty of room for high-quality restaurants. There are too many restaurants that are just not run well enough at the moment."
However, Malcolm Duck, head of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs Association, said: "There is a lot of competition out there at the moment and a number of restaurants have been closing and changing hands."
City retail expert Simon Bashford, at property agents Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "It is great news that Edinburgh is attracting a restaurateur of this quality. It will cement Edinburgh's growing reputation as a culinary capital.
"There are a number of potential locations in the New Town, namely Queen Street, which would be perfect for a ground floor restaurant and boutique hotel on the upper floors."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West