A Thursday at lunch time, I arrive in front of one of these little houses from Queensferry Street in Edinburgh. This particular house hosts one of Chef Berkmiller restaurants: L’Escargot Blanc. From the outside, the restaurant is not visible because it is located in the first floor. The surprise is pending.
Upstair, the restaurant welcomes you in a different world: A little piece of France in the Scottish capital. The waiters, the decoration and even the radio will trick you. I had to look outside the window to convince me I was still in Edinburgh.
The chef will be with you shortly…
While waiting I look the interior of the restaurant and discover a lovely French vintage atmosphere with white pristine linen, old advertisement posters on the walls and… an old chewing gum dispenser field with snail shells! What a funny touch for a restaurant called the white snail!
Chef Berkmiller wears in white chef jacket. We are ready to begin! Today, we are meeting to talk about an important topic for Chef Berkmiller: local produces and particularly cattle breed produced in Scotland.
Chef is a passionate about traditional French cuisine. Good cuisine respects the ingredients used and the basic techniques of the French cuisine. Someone should not play chemistry apprentice in the kitchen before knowing perfectly the basics of cooking. Following his conviction, Fred Berkmiller offers great French classics in both of his restaurants (the Escargot Bleu and the Escargot Blanc).
Beef Bourguignon needs time. A week is necessary to prepare our beef Bourguignon for our restaurant.
You recognise the sturdy character of a chef who is working with a will. No joking around about cooking.
In its work for increasing the practice of the “good cuisine”, Fred Merkmiller dedicate part of his time to the Budding Chef initiative. He created this organisation with the French Institute in Scotland to develop culinary exchange between France and Scotland.
Since 2011, exchanges are organised between the hospitality school of Dinard in France and Scottish restaurants. Each year, a student team from Dinard comes to experience the work in Scottish restaurants and a team of young Scottish chefs goes to Brittany to experience the food and drink sector as well as the local produces from France.
Chef Berkmiller tells me the necessity of opening young chef minds to new cultures, new produces and to different work techniques.
In France, the restaurant industry is focused on its own style: French cuisine. Nowadays, young chefs have to experience other cuisine styles to be aware of what is done outside the country. In Scotland, this is different. Scottish cuisine needs more structure and to push further its involvement in cuisine using quality ingredients and diverse cooking techniques. Scotland has been working on the development of quality local produces for about seven years. Even if they have done great things until now, they still have a long way to go according to the chef.
Are you ready to cook these recipes?
We are heading to the restaurant kitchen to prepare 2 delicious dishes made from the best beefs produced in Scotland but this is another story. 😉 I will propose you later a second post about beef with a great recipe from the chef.
17 Queensferry Street
56 Broughton Street