Pearls of Wisdom: Martin Wishart

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marco pierre white, Le gavroche, Scotland, Edinburgh

Martin Wishart plans to expand The Honours concept to Glasgow next
Martin Wishart plans to expand The Honours concept to Glasgow next
Michelin-starred Scottish chef Martin Wishart is behind two fine-dining restaurants in Leith and Loch Lomond, as well as the recently opened The Honours in central Edinburgh.

It’s a fast-paced service at The Honours.​ As much as I like running the kitchen in Leith, it can be a bit quiet and organised.

The past 11 years has been fine dining,​ but I’ve done some consultancy with big number operations so I know what I’m doing.

I saved up money from working to buy the lease of my first restaurant, ​tiled the kitchen myself with the help of my brothers, painted the walls and opened the doors. It wasn’t anything lavish, but I look back at those early days in Leith as some of the best in my career.

I could have worked at Aubergine, ​but changed my mind at the last minute and went and worked with Marco Pierre White. After that I decided I’d pretty much had enough of working for other people in fine-dining restaurants.

We’re looking to set up an apprenticeship scheme within the business.​ We’re currently talking to Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh to make sure we get it right.

I own my own company. ​I’ve always invested back into the business. I see The Honours as an investment. The Michelin star market in Edinburgh is healthy, but it’s approaching its saturation point.

I’m going to move staff around to give them a broader culinary experience.​ That’s what I observed when I worked for Marco and Michel Roux.

I’ve just been given an honorary degree from Edinburgh University​ for raising the standards of Scottish cuisine internationally. If I’m honest it’s better than getting any award from a guide.

We don’t have any items on higher purchase, ​I’d rather wait another year until we can afford it. I’m all about minimising risk.

I left school at 15 and went straight into the kitchen.​ I worked with Michel Roux Jr the year he took over Le Gavroche. After that I worked under Marco Pierre White at the dining room at the former Hyde Park Hotel, now Mandarin Oriental.

David Ramsden [the man behind the Edinburgh-based Dogs restaurant group] is very talented. ​What he’s done is fantastic, it’s very difficult to make money at that level.

My first restaurant wasn’t much, but it was clean.​ There was one person front-ofhouse and two guys in the kitchen.

Would I consider opening in London?​ I’m always open to new ideas. My wife is French but she grew up in Mexico City – we’ve been offered places over there. I don’t know what we’re going to do in the future, but right now I’m happy gradually expanding in Scotland.

Don’t overborrow when you start up. ​Running a restaurant is tough as it is.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the restaurateurs at the time,​ but when I came back to Edinburgh in 1999 the food was shit.

I worked in America for a year and a half​ because I wanted to learn about their approach to front-of-house service. They still do it better than us.

The Honours would be well suited to Glasgow, ​that’s where we’ll go next.

Related news

Show more

Spotlight

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Featured Suppliers

All suppliers

Free Email Newsletter

Subscribe to BigHospitality

The trusted industry reference point

Get the latest news & analysis from the UK hospitality sector straight to your inbox!