Media Release: Budding French chefs heading to Scotland to discover local larder

THE Institut Français d’Ecosse and Frédéric Berkmiller (L’Escargot Bleu/L’Escargot Blanc restaurants) are delighted to present the return of the Budding Chefs project from March 27th to April 2nd.

‘The Pop-Up Restaurant’ and ‘Poissons d’avril’, are two public events specially created to expose the rich and tasteful Scottish larder and the talents of 11 French cooking students of the Lycée hôtelier of Dinard who are participating in the second annual culinary exchange between Scotland and France.

Notable participating chefs include Martin Wishart, Roy Brett and Paul Wedgwood.

After the success of the food and drink exchanges involving French budding chefs initiated by the Institut français and Frederic Berkmiller in 2011, the project returns at the end of March.

The 11 French cooking students from the Lycée Hotelier of Dinard will be travelling to Scotland in order to partake in this exciting cultural and culinary exchange from March 27th to April 2nd.

As well as being given a masterclass with Martin Wishart at his Edinburgh based cooking school, the French students will be undertaking a tour around Scotland to visit producers – fish and cattle farmers, fruits and vegetables producers.

They will also have the chance to work in the kitchens of the partner restaurants in Edinburgh: Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Honours, Roy Bretts’ Ondine Restaurant, Wedgwood the Restaurant, L’Escargot Bleu and L’Escargot Blanc Restaurants and Craig Wood’s The Wee Restaurant (Queensferry).

On Saturday 31 March, the French cooking students are rolling up their sleeves to run their one-night only Pop-up restaurant at The Hub on Castlehill. Diners will be served a three-courses menu specially designed to associate French classic recipes with Scottish produce.

Additionally, Eric Boschman, named World’s best sommelier in 2010, will be coming especially from Belgium for the occasion with the support of Wallonia Brussels International, and will be designing a wine list to match the students’ menu.

For ‘Poissons d’avril’ (‘Fishes of April’), the French equivalent of the April’s Fool, the Institut français is to be turned into a fish fair for the day on Sunday 1 April. Participants will be discovering easy-to-do recipes involving cheap fishes (mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, kippers etc) through workshops and tastings.

Edinburgh-based starred chefs will give their special tips and share their concern about food and health, cost of living and produce sourcing while the budding chefs will offer bites of fine fish products from Scotland, Brittany and Belgium (rillettes de sardines, smoked trouts, roll mops, etc), to enjoy with a glass of white wine.

The Budding Chefs project was launched in Scotland in May 2011.

For the first part of the project 1,000 ‘Breton’ menus were cooked with Scottish sourced produce. The second leg of the venture was organised in October in France in which 400 Scottish menus were served during the Dinard British Film Festival’s gala dinner.

The success of this first run relied upon the huge involvement of the budding chefs team and also the quality of the Scottish larder and the generosity of its ‘keepers’ (caterers, farmers, fishmongers, suppliers, chefs, etc).

This gastronomy project is part of the ‘La Tete et les Jambes’ (Head and Legs) programme, dedicated to cultural events involving both mind and legs and celebrating the Britain Olympic year, initiated by the Institut français d’Ecosse in 2012.

Later on in the year, a group of Scottish students will be given the opportunity to travel to France in order to carry out a similar project.

For interview requests, to follow one or several visits in the programme, or to attend the public events, please contact us:


Listings information

- Pop-Up Restaurant

Date: Saturday 31 March at 7.00 pm

Venue:  The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh

Tickets: £35 (£32)

Advanced booking compulsory: 0131 225 5366

- Poissons d’avril

Date: Sunday 1 April 2012, 11.00 am – 4.00 pm

Venue : Institut français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh

Tickets: £5 (£3)

Booking and information: 0131 225 5366


– Campbells Prime Meat Limited

– Sunnyside Farm

– Fresh Direct

– Welch Fishmongers

– L’Art du Vin

– Wallonia Brussels International

– Belgian Tourist Office

– The Franco-Scottish Business Club


– The List

Notes to editors:

About the Institut français d’Ecosse

The Institut français d’Ecosse exists to promote French language and culture in Scotland, by providing French courses and organising events (film screenings, talks, exhibitions, concerts, etc.). It is also its aim to encourage cross-cultural exchange between France and Scotland, in cooperation with Scottish Francophile institutions.

After a year of cultural exchanges between Brittany and Scotland in 2011, the Institute surfs on the Olympics wave in 2012, giving a sporting flavour to its cultural events.

Entitled ‘La Tête et les Jambes’, this unique programme features alternative artistic performances mixing artistic purposes to questionings about man’s connection with his body.

About the Escargot Bleu/ Escargot Blanc:

Fred Berkmiller is a French restaurateur established in the UK since 1988. With Betty Jourjon, he opened ‘L’Escargot Bleu’ in January 2009 and its little sister ‘L’Escargot blanc’ not long after. The Auld Alliance is alive in these places and Fred & Betty have their own version of ‘entente-cordiale’.

Fred seeks out others that share his passion for excellence. They are mainly the producers of Scotland, tender meat, fresh water fish, handpicked fruits and vegetables. Betty is only too proud to serve you Hervé Mons exclusive selection of French cheese… A little slice of France in the heart of Edinburgh.

Press contact

Vanessa Bismuth

Institut français d’Ecosse

Communications & PR Officer

0131 220 7751 /

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Contact: Vanessa Bismuth
Phone: 01312207751