Chef’s special: Chris Thomson

Chris Thomson, Chef, The Pantry, Stockbridge, Edinburgh


Billed as a ‘farm shop and kitchen’, The Pantry on North West Circus Place has a focus on local produce and the provenance of ingredients. The restaurant describes its food as “rustic, but refined; full of flavour and true to the seasons”.

How long have you been in the catering business?
The Pantry opened in December 2012. Before then I was working as a biology teacher for three years. Prior to that I had always worked in catering, beginning with my first job at the age of 15 in the Safeway canteen.

What’s your career highlight so far?
I have two – when The Pantry got its first great review after opening and when I catered a Nose to Tail banquet using my good friend’s own lamb (Lathockar Lamb, Rob Dewey) last September.

How would you describe your food?
Rustic but refined. Foodie but not pretentious. Seasonal but not boring. Provenant and exciting.

What’s the price of a typical three course meal?

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
We love food and we pride ourselves on our relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. As much as we can we support local suppliers and artisanal producers. We have, we hope, created a space where everyone feels welcome.

Describe your staff
A combination of family members and team members who have become like family.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
My wife is a vegetarian so I rarely eat meat at home. So a treat for me is to cook a fantastic steak with thrice-cooked chips.

What’s your favourite wine?
Cometa for white and I’m a fan of all light Italian reds.

What is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
Castle Terrace. Dominic’s food is superb.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Offal. It is cheap, full of flavour and so versatile.

What makes a good chef?
A good chef cooks food he believes in and would pay for himself to eat in a restaurant. He or she also treats all ingredients with the same care and attention.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
Butter unsliced bread before you slice it.