Hotly tipped Scottish chef and Masterchef: The Professionals knockout week finalist Chris Niven has been unveiled as executive head chef of The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar – an exciting new independent dining and drinking venue set to open in Edinburgh this summer.
Located on the North Bridge in the magnificent former advertising hall of the Scotsman building, Niven is currently building his team and developing a delicious, accessible all-day menu, which will showcase his love of vibrant dishes with bold flavours, made with the best seasonal Scottish produce.
Based at The Scotsman Hotel, the cafe will open its doors to guests after an extensive restoration, which will bring the beauty and traditional features of this historic Old Town building – opened in 1905 as the home of Scotsman newspapers – into the modern age.
Details of the interior design and menus are still under wraps, however the new venue promis-es to mix the historic past of its setting with the buzz of a vibrant contemporary café and bar.
Niven is building a 15-strong kitchen team to help him craft unpretentious dishes which will take diners from early morning breakfasts and coffees through lunches, afternoon teas, dinners and all the way to late night cocktails and drams.
The ambitious Dundee-born chef is a champion of carefully sourced Scottish ingredients and of the local Scottish restaurant scene. He is proud to have been mentored by some of Scot-land’s best chefs in award-winning kitchens up and down the country throughout his career.
Having trained in Professional Cookery at Dundee College, Chris followed his passion for food with junior positions at a number of local hotels and restaurants before heading to St Andrews to work in the kitchens of the Golf Hotel, The Old Course Hotel and The Adamson.
He gained experience of menu development as senior sous chef for the opening of Malmaison Dundee, before moving back to St Andrews for a spell at the two rosette restaurant at Rufflets Hotel.
He then moved to Edinburgh to the renowned Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club as executive sous chef, where he was in charge of two restaurants and up to 500 breakfasts each day.
Latterly he has been head chef of the Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh’s George Street. During his tenure there, he progressed to the final stages of the 2017 Masterchef: The Professionals TV competition – an experience he describes as ‘stressful but incredible’- given he was cooking for some of his culinary heroes including Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.
He said: “The opportunity to take the reins at The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar in this pre-opening phase and to have complete autonomy to de-velop the venue and its menus is one that I didn’t want to miss. There is no blueprint, so every dish is being designed from scratch and will be custom-made, with seasonality, flavour and sourcing at the heart of everything we do. It will be an easy and elegant menu with something for everyone, and we are working hard to offer customers something fresh, distinctive and one-of-a-kind in the Edinburgh scene when we open our doors in a few months’ time.”
Joining Chris at The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar will be Kenny Arnott, who takes up the role of general manager. Full plans for the launch will be unveiled in the coming weeks, as work con-tinues behind the scenes to lovingly bring this former Scotsman public office back to life.