Chef’s special : Jonny Dunbar

Jonny Dunbar, Head chef, Ducks at Kilspindie House, Aberlady


Nestled in Aberlady, a small conservation village in the heart of East Lothian, Ducks at Kilspindie House is a restaurant with rooms. Whether it’s a family meal, intimate dinner for two or a large celebration, Ducks offers a fine dining experience in a relaxed setting. The Scottish menu changes frequently to accommodate the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients.

How long have you been in the catering business?
I started washing dishes aged 12 and became hooked on kitchens then, so that will be 27 years.

What’s your career highlight so far?
It’s as simple as having customers send their compliments to the kitchen telling us ‘that was the best dish they have eaten in a long time’.

How would you describe your food?
Modern, seasonal Scottish.

What’s the price of a typical three-course meal (without wine)?
In Duck’s restaurant £30, in Donald’s Bistro £20.

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
Duck’s offers an intimate fine dine experience with an ever changing seasonal a la carte menu, whereas Donald’s offers family favourites in an airy, relaxed setting.

Describe your staff
The front of house staff are friendly, unobtrusive and knowledgeable, the kitchen staff are professional and conscientious with a thirst for knowledge.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
When the Scottish weather allows it I like to cook outside on open coals for family and friends.

Is there any food you dislike?
Sea urchins.

What’s your favourite wine?
I’m not really a wine drinker but I am very partial to Thistly Cross Cider, which is made just along the road from us.

Not counting your own, which is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
Ondine on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Buccleuch beef, seasonal Scottish chanterelles and Acquamara Hebridean sea water.

What makes a good chef?
Good, all-round knowledge, a passion for the food they are cooking and patience.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
Always check the seasoning at the beginning of cooking, halfway through and finally at the end.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Any chef who spends their time in the kitchen mentoring and working alongside their brigade.

How do you relax outside of work?
Spending time with my four year old daughter, Skye.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?
Kylie Minogue at El Celler De Can Roca in Spain!