Matin Khan, Owner, Itihaas, Dalkeith
Itihaas offers a menu of Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine in Dalkeith.
The restaurant was awarded a Certificate of Excellence 2013 by online review site TripAdvisor as well as picking up the Best Dinner and Best Service prizes at this year’s Midlothian Food and Drink Awards.
How long have you been in the catering business?
I started at the age of 14 as a kitchen porter, the year after arriving in the UK from my native Bangladesh, so that’s well over a quarter of a century in the trade.
What’s your career highlight so far?
Opening Itihaas in Dalkeith in 2009 and winning so many awards in our first few years.
How would you describe your food?
India and Bangladesh’s best food for Scottish guests, using the finest and freshest ingredients, including top quality meats and vegetables, and authentic herbs and spices.
What’s the price of a typical three course meal?
Why should someone visit your restaurant?
To discover why we won all those awards and enjoy an exceptionally good value dining experience.
Describe your staff.
A team, mostly with an Indian sub-continent background, who work hard to achieve total guest satisfaction.
What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Roast lamb with Bangladeshi spices.
Is there any food you dislike?
I’m not at all fussy. I eat most things.
What is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
John Paul at the Macdonald Marine Hotel, North Berwick.
What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Lamb, beef and prawns, all served at Itihaas.
What makes a good chef?
Passion for their product, flair, keeping calm under pressure and always insisting on using the finest ingredients.
How do you relax outside of work?
My relaxation is within work, I’m afraid. My main enjoyment is talking to guests and making sure they’re enjoying themselves.
Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Martin Wishart and Jamie Oliver. Both of them are innovative and creative, and know what their guests want.
What has made you laugh in the kitchen?
When I see a guest ordering more food than I know they can eat. That’s the signal for me to send a waiter to their table and suggest they take one or two things off their wish list.