A star is a good way to justify ourselves in Edinburgh because it gave us a bit of our Juniper credibility back; we’re not a bunch of jokers who have spent a fortune on some place serving weird food.
It’s settled down now staff-wise. People understand what I’m trying to say to them, which is actually very little because I can’t be bothered with all that yes chef, no chef stuff.
My partner Katie reads all the blogs. People leave the restaurant at 11.30pm and by midnight they’ve written 18 paragraphs. They’re supposed to be getting drunk and having a great time, but people are writing things down. They split so many silly hairs. Katie says don’t read them, so I don’t.
I’m practically a vegetarian. I will taste meat occasionally, but I’d rather eat a bowl of peas. It’s not an ethical thing, but it’s just not for me.
We’ve had some pretty good chefs that have left us, and that’s because they’re from a Gordon Ramsay bash-you-in-the-face background. They want to be angry, and angry chefs cook angry food.
We’re very disciplined, but nobody shouts and screams here. And you won’t see a cleaner kitchen.
I want to do a big poncey arty book.
I’m working with some simple ingredients that I’ve never worked with before, including paprika and sweet potatoes – both things that the chefs I worked with before never really used.
I tend to throw myself in the deep end. I don’t experiment first, but it normally all works out. I’m an instinctive cook.
We don’t use any new techniques such as waterbaths and Thermomix. I don’t have anything against them. It’s just not my thing.
My chefs change their phones every week for the latest thing. I don’t have a phone; I don’t even have a credit card. I like it that way. I’d rather read a book or watch a documentary.
I’ve known Katie, my partner, for 18 years. She still hasn’t made me a cup of tea.
I became a chef because I was an unemployed labourer. Before that I did art. I wasn’t very good, but I liked the shapes and colours. Having the knowledge and intelligence I hope I have now, I would have stuck with the art. I wouldn’t do it over again.
We row our own boat. I don’t look to other restaurants and chefs for inspiration.
Claude Bosi is the only chef I’m jealous of. He’s that good. The food at Hibiscus is completely different from anyone else’s.
We’ve fallen into a category that I’ve never wanted to be in, but there’s very little I can do about it now. You either love us or hate us. We’re Marmite.
There are a few ingredients I think are a waste of time, such as crab, sea urchins and lobsters. I’d love to put them on the menu, but I’m too lazy.
My approach to cooking? A lot of things in a bowl. It’s multi-layered, but it’s not trying to be clever. But we do work hard at it – that’s my nature.