Scottish chef pivots to delivery to beat isolation
Patrick Atack and Natalia Luz
Edinburgh chef Campbell Mickel is used to winning Michelin awards and having customers from around the city come to him.
But as the UK and much of Europe face weeks of social isolation, he has turned his business on its head in a bid to keep it afloat - and keep Scots from going hungry.
Merienda, the eatery in the Scottish capital which takes its name from a Spanish snack, usually serves a menu of "small plates" with exciting names such as "Ox Cheek Gateau" and top-of-the-range ingredients including Dornoch salmon from the Highlands.
But with bookings dwindling, and official government advice – from Holyrood and London – telling citizens to stay at home, Mickel has flipped his business to door-to-door delivery.
"We started putting into planning a week ago a self-isolation delivery service, where we are going to prepare food and deliver it to our customers who can't or won't leave the house," he explained.
"We will let them self-isolate – we arrive, ring the bell, step away from the door and give them instructions on what their packages contain," Mickel said.
Although this new method means some of the menu items may alter ("It is not so much about getting it looking fantastic as we would here," assistant chef Robbie Probert explained) that doesn't mean the quality of the meals being delivered will change.
"Some of it will be standardized, we are doing a chicken and leek lasagna, we are doing some smoked haddock, good Scottish ingredients that we are know are going to get an availability," Mickel explained.
All the meals will be delivered cold, with instructions for isolated customers on how to best heat them, Probert and Mickel are clear that their proud Michelin Guide standard will not go off the boil.
"We want to preserve the taste, we want to keep the taste ready for folk," Probert said.