Acclaimed chef Stuart Ralston is known as one of the most innovative, creative and hard-working cooks in the UK today. Stuart’s inspirations come from all around him, and throughout his career he has kept a notebook to jot down ideas for flavour combinations and recipes. He goes back to those ideas again and again, playing with taste and texture to create stunning and intriguing dishes.
We are so excited to publish his first cookbook Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts – A Cookbook. The book traces his evolution as a chef, and brings together the food that inspires him, the finely crafted dishes that he creates in his restaurants and the food he likes to cook at home.
Stuart grew up in Glenrothes in a family of chefs. From learning his trade in kitchens around Scotland, he moved to New York to work in Gordon Ramsay’s flagship 2 Michelin Star restaurant at the London Hotel.
He spent two years as the Chef de Cuisine at Sandy Lanes, Barbados cooking for the likes of Rihanna and Mark Wahlberg, before returning to Edinburgh to open several highly regarded and top quality restaurants – Aizle in 2016, followed by Noto in 2019 and most recently Tipo in 2023.
We caught up with Stuart and asked him a few questions to give us some insight into what he does and what lays behind his love of food and cooking.
Was there a cookbook that really inspired you?
Many many cookbooks have given me something. The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, my first 3 star cookbook, was life changing. A timeless book now you look back at it. It’s a book that made me daydream about what life must have been like in a 3 Michelin star environment.
I love the David Chang Momofuku book. It was a book that was just so refreshing and cool. The food was so varied that you could have his fine dining dishes like his “ KO Egg” or move onto something causal you’d find at Ssam bar like spicy rice cakes and sausage, which felt like a very New York dish similar to a gnocchi with broccoli rabe and sausage meat.
2. What is your favourite item in your kitchen that you simply couldn’t do without?
My Cast Iron pans, without a doubt. My pans were made by the Griswold Co in Pennsylvania in the 1850’s. They last a lifetime, and are always non stick and heavy as hell. They retain heat like no other and basically I use them every day.
3. Do you have a favourite song, type of music or podcast you like to cook to?
Sadly a lot of the time I listen to Talksport radio in the house when I’m cooking haha. But at work it’s pretty eclectic – INXS, Wu Tang Clan, Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and podcasts like Dave Chang Show and Restless Natives are all pretty good.
4. If you could cook anywhere in the world in any location then where would you choose?
Dream location to actually cook would be somewhere in the deepest woods or mountains, something similar to Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
Or perhaps The Willows Inn on Lummi island, overlooking water somewhere, but very calm and quiet on long summer days…
5. If you had to give one single piece of advice about cooking to someone then what would that be?
Just to try and be organised, that always helps.
Massive thanks to Stuart for taking the time to share his fascinating and inspiring thoughts with us.
His absolutely stunning new cookbook is now available in all good book stores and of course direct from us right HERE.
Stuart Ralston cooks great food and now you can try his recipes at home for yourself.