Next month, David Watson, Head Chef at Courtyard Edinburgh, will be eagerly anticipating the opening night of The Lantern Room, the restaurant and bar which draws its inspiration from lighthouse pioneer Robert Stevenson. Stevenson’s family lived in No.1 Baxter’s Place, which is now home to the hotel.
David is similarly inspired by the sea, with a passion for cooking and eating seafood. His favourite food is halibut and scallops and he loves to create purees, gels and fresh pasta, introducing modern cooking techniques to complement locally sourced produce.
The opening marks David’s first position as Head Chef at the tender age of 29. Having learnt his skill from working at internationally renowned kitchens around the world, David is bringing his eclectic mix of cooking into this contemporary new hotel.
Working for a lunch and dinner service which routinely served in excess of 180 diners at each sitting, David is used to working within a busy kitchen environment. At Courtyard, he will oversee a team of 8 chefs and is keen to establish his own reputation for good, honest fresh food, using local produce.
With his time served at The Norton House Hotel, David’s passion for cooking fish came to the fore. It’s a theme he wants to continue at The Lantern Room and with rich fishing grounds off the coast of Scotland, he’ll have a natural larder on the doorstep.
David’s career started with a one-day a week college course at the Lanarkshire Catering School while he worked as a trainee in a local hotel. With a strong work ethic and the desire to continually raise standards, David’s work has stood out and he quickly moved through the ranks.
Each chef David has worked with has inspired him and after doing a stage at Mark Greenaway’s signature restaurant in Castle Street, it had a profound effect, cementing David’s ambition to head his own team.
His past experience has put him in great stead:
“Having five good jobs, working with five very different chefs, from the style of their cooking and presentation as well as their personalities, it gave me an excellent introduction into working in a commercial kitchen and striving to be a top chef.
“I want to create fantastic food that exceeds people’s expectations and The Lantern Room at Courtyard gives me the opportunity to do just that.”
Having progressed after qualifying at college, David appreciates everyone’s role in the kitchen. He is also acutely aware of the highly competitive market with the number of experienced chefs going after every vacancy in Edinburgh. He is honoured and proud to be given this opportunity to be in at the ground in establishing the Lantern Room at Courtyard as a dining experience not to be missed.