Photo of
April 6, 2018

Scotsman Chris Niven is Executive Chef at The Scotsman Grand Cafe and Bar in Edinburgh. Pic: © Daniel McAvoy Photography

The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar will launch in Edinburgh this summer. The kitchen will be led by a finalist from the 2017 Masterchef: The Professionals show.

Last year, Chris Niven reached the knockout week of Masterchef: The Professionals.

This year, he has taken the reins as Executive Chef at The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar in The Scotsman Hotel on the North Bridge.

The new venture is taking shape in the former advertising hall of the Scotsman newspaper building. It is pencilled in to open in the early summer.

Scotsman building opened in 1905

The building originally opened as the home of the Scotsman newspaper in 1905. More recently, it has been a hotel.

The property was bought by Stefan King's G1 Group last year.

The Grand Café space is currently undergoing an extensive operation which aims to 'bring the beauty and traditional features of this historic Old Town building... into the modern age'.

Chef Niven is currently building a fifteen-strong kitchen team. The Grand Café will offer an all day menu of  '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 (34) is a champion of carefully sourced Scottish ingredients and of the local Scottish restaurant scene.

The chef trained in Professional Cookery at Dundee College before working at a number of local hotels and restaurants.

He later headed 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.

Chris 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.

He describes as ‘stressful but incredible’ given he was cooking for some of his culinary heroes including Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti.

The Scotsman Grand Café and Bar: seasonal sourcing

Commenting on this latest challenge, Chris said: ‘The opportunity to take the reins at The Scotsman Grand Café & Bar and to have complete autonomy to develop 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. Seasonality, flavour and sourcing will be at the heart of everything we do. It will be an easy and elegant menu with something for everyone. We are working hard to offer customers something fresh, distinctive and one-of-a-kind in Edinburgh.’