The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel in Edinburgh, has announced Mark Donald as the new head chef of Number One – the hotel’s one Michelin star restaurant.
The Scottish born chef’s homecoming follows a 13-year stint abroad. Donald joins Number One, named after the hotel’s iconic address 1 Princes Street, from Sydney, Australia where he was head chef at Bentley Restaurant and Bar. Prior to this he worked at a number of two Michelin star establishments including senior roles at Claude Bosi’s flagship Hibiscus restaurant in London and at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Perthshire. He also worked at Noma in Copenhagen – the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant at that time.
Donald oversees a team of 13 chefs in Number One and has created a new menu inspired by Scotland and flavoured by his and the team’s international travels. New dishes on the menu include oysters with smoked kipper and parsley; hand dived scallops with Iberico pork and black garlic ketchup and Scottish wood pigeon, green juniper and blood and potato cake. A new partnership has placed Highland Wagyu beef on the menu for the first time at Number One, served with beetroot and smoked bone marrow.
Commenting on the new appointment, The Balmoral’s executive chef, Jeff Bland, said:
“Mark brings a fantastic grounding in fine-dining having worked at some incredible world renowned establishments. His approach to fusing the best of Scottish produce with international flavours brings a fresh new style to Number One. Mark will take Number One to new heights as he respects the restaurant’s ethos of continually innovating and surprising our guests.”
Donald added: “After travelling and working in some incredible locations, I felt it was time to come home to beautiful Scotland. The Balmoral is such an iconic property steeped in history and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a fantastic team in the heart of Edinburgh.”
He and his team have also developed relationships with local producers. Together with his pastry team, he has created individual bread loaves using local East Lothian barley served with Perthshire apple vinegar, Highland rapeseed oil and Mark’s home-made cultured butter with cream from Kelso dairy farms. Desserts include Pink Lady apple tart, Amedei chocolate mille feuille and blood orange, pumpkin and buttermilk.
Guests have the chance to experience the team’s fun side with a final treat in the form of a sweetie trolley including a rhubarb and custard macaron, foie gras chocolate truffle or a traditional piece of Scottish tablet with a coffee and a dram.