Tom Kitchin & Dominic Jack on Michelin stars, the rise of Edinburgh and running a 'gastropub'

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Young chefs, Michelin star, Michelin guide, Michelin

Edinburgh's dining scene is almost unimaginable without Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack, chef-patrons of the Michelin-starred The Kitchin and Castle Terrace restaurants who recently opened their family-friendly dining pub The Scran & Scallie.

In this exclusive video interview, the pair told BigHospitality why they've decided to dip their toes into the world of gastropubs.

Kitchin and Jack met as young chefs in Gleneagles and have since taken similar career paths, influencing and encouraging one another over the years.

In 2008, the pair were once again working alongside each other at The Kitchin, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2007 – six months after opening.  In July 2010, Jack then became chef patron of Castle Terrace, at which he was awarded his own Michelin star a year later.

Earlier this year, the pair united once again to open the Scran & Scallie,​a modern, family-friendly pub-restaurant. BigHospitality caught up with Tom and Dom at their latest venture, and we began by talking about how their lives and careers have evolved, from young chefs to successful business partners.

“As young chefs, you work together and you create a bond and you go through the pains of the industry getting to where we are now,” says Tom. “So there’s and incredible bond between us.

“To be business partners and each have our own individual restaurants, you have to pinch yourselves sometimes because this is the dream.”


So, to Michelin ambitions.​With a star in each of their respective restaurants, are the pair gunning for another?

The Scran & Scallie pub follows the ‘nature to plate’ philosophy that Kitchin and Jack have put at the heart of their restaurants

“Of course we’d both love another star in our respective restaurants,” says Tom. “Here, it’s very much about good food, but one-star Michelin is ‘good food’. But that’s not the aspiration here - this is about approachable dining; making something available to everyone. “

Their 90-cover pub follows the ‘nature to plate’ philosophy that they have put at the heart of their restaurants – but with those venues more closely associated with fine-dining, the Scran and Scallie seems a bit of a surprise – what was so appealing about opening pub?

Dominic says: “It’s a family-friendly place. We’ve both got young children and we’d like to go and eat somewhere with our kids.”

Tom adds: “The pub is already something which is close to our heart. With young families, sometimes lunch can be quite stressful. It is very much a pub, but it’s a modern-day pub.

“These kinds of places have sprung up all across London and England for many years now and we’d like to think that this is one of a kind in Scotland. There’s a fine line between pub, restaurant and gastropub. I’ve always fought against the word ‘gastropub’, but it’s hard to get away from it."

Hospitable City

Edinburgh now boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants, with Kitchin and Jack filling two of those spots

As Kitchin and Jack’s footprint in Edinburgh continues to grow, the city they operate in continues to develop:​just over four million UK holidaymakers are expected to visit Edinburgh this year, boosting the local economy by £1.2bn.

To have such a wide appeal, it must offer something for everyone, and, as the pair point out in the video, this is reflected in the development of restaurants across the city.

“Edinburgh in the last 10, 15 years has exploded,” says Dominic. “The quality of restaurants that have come through – 20 years ago there just wasn’t many places that you could go to.

Tom adds: “Edinburgh’s such a desirable destination for people in the UK and also people travelling from all over the world because it’s got such history. Without a shadow of a doubt, Edinburgh is, after London, the biggest foodie destination in the UK.

“We’re by no means perfect but we’re striving for excellence. Edinburgh’s on the up – watch out world.”

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