Aizle's new head chef, Lewis Vimpany, on his food loves, hates and guilty pleasures

This chef has also worked at Number One at The Balmoral and Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

What’s your favourite ingredient?

It has to be woodruff. It’s a foraged plant which tastes similar to marzipan or almonds. We work with a few foragers who are able to get produce like this that we couldn’t get from any other supplier, so it’s quite unique in that sense. We currently use it on our menu at the minute for our white chocolate and strawberry dessert and it’s just super tasty.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

Lewis VimpanyLewis Vimpany
Lewis Vimpany

Chocolate. I’ve got such a sweet tooth and to be honest who doesn’t like chocolate?

Tell us about your first food memory?

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I used to bake a lot with my mum and brother when I was younger and I think that’s where my sweet tooth came from. I loved opening the Be-Ro recipe books my mum had and trying them out. Nothing as technical as nowadays, but I love the classics.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli, or cafe?

The Cellar in Anstruther. I’m a bit biased as I worked with Billy Boyter for five or six years, but I just love his cooking style and his flavour combinations. For casual food, Dishoom in Edinburgh is always tasty and never disappoints.

What would be your last supper?

It would probably be along the lines of Korean BBQ or ramen. That’s all I predominately ate when I lived in Melbourne and it just takes me back to having good times with friends. We would enjoy this type of food after work and it’s super delicious.

Starter or pudding?

Pudding for sure. I especially love apple pie and custard.

Do you have any food hates?

Coriander. It literally tastes like I’m eating a bar of soap. I don’t care how you use it or incorporate it - you’ve just ruined my meal right there. I make sure to tell the guys in the kitchen to leave it out as it is a hit or miss with people.

What starters, main, and dessert would be served at your dream dinner and who would you invite?

Nothing fancy, just loads of sharing food, really casual. Probably along the lines of a BBQ, where everyone gets involved and brings a dish. There would definitely be beer can chicken, smoked brisket, roast pork, potato salad and corn on the cob, all the classics. Oh and pudding, of course.

I’d invite my brothers, as we’re never all together enough. But also, Peter Jackson, as we’re all geeks, so we’d just abuse him with questions about Lord of the Rings all night and we’d love it.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Japan. It’s been on my list to go for years. I just love the food culture there and the process of just trying to master one thing for the rest of your life. It’s proper dedication to your craft. That’s why I believe they’re the best in the world at most aspects of food.

Aizle, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (0131 527 4747,