Nick Nairn feels the heat with kitchen return

HE’s one of the UK’s most famous chefs, who normally produces dishes money can’t buy.

But Nick Nairn, the Michelin-starred chef famous for his television appearances, is set to team up with a Leith restaurant and cook for paying customers for the first time in more than a decade.

It signals a return to the coalface for Mr Nairn, who said he was keen to get back to his cooking roots in a busy kitchen serving a lot of customers.

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The event itself, raising cash for the Evening News-backed St Columba’s Hospice appeal, will take place on February 26 at Mithas in Leith.

The celebrity chef, who has appeared on shows including Ready, Steady, Cook as well as carrying out culinary demonstrations across the world, said: “I wanted to re-ignite a part of my brain that had become dormant.

“I’ve got a lot of stuff going on this year and this just kind of fell into place.

“I had a bit of a revelation that a lot of the stuff we do is about our past, and the experiences we’ve had, and not enough time was spent thinking about the future.

“You need to continue having these experiences.”

Meetings will take place between Mr Nairn, his chefs and the staff at Mithas to agree on the menu.

It is likely that the dishes will be a mix of Scottish and Indian recipes, with the emphasis on every meal being “new and experimental”.

He added: “I don’t want anyone going through their back catalogue or reverting to something they know is safe.

“It’s about pushing boundaries and creating something new.

One dish that will be appearing is a scallop and black pudding pakora, an invention Mr Nairn awoke from his sleep to come up with.

The event is similar to Mr Nairn’s upcoming “pop-up” restaurant scheme, where he and his best chefs commandeer a restaurant kitchen for the night, at short notice, and only release information about where and when shortly before through social media.

This event at the Dock Place venue will be slightly different in that it is aimed at generating cash for the rebuilding of the north Edinburgh hospice.

“It won’t be a case of us going in and taking over,” Mr Nairn added. “We want to very much work in partnership.

“I’m really excited about getting that buzz of being under pressure to serve so many people in a short space of time.

“That’s where we all come from.”

A spokesman for the fundraising event said tickets could be booked by contacting the restaurant directly.

He added: “It’s a chance for the chefs involved to prepare something they are not used to cooking, all in the name of St Columba’s Hospice.”