TV chefs the Hairy Bikers will relive the 1986 Mexico World Cup in an Edinburgh pub, in a bizarre episode due to air tonight.
The Geordie pair hope to explore the legacy of the Tartan Army’s trip to Mexico, which has lived on in the spicy cuisine they brought back.
Hairy Bikers Simon ‘Si’ King and David Myers said they were really surprised Scots voted tongue-sizzling Mexican dishes their favourite meal but said it stemmed from their love of football when travelling to the World Cup and put it down to the legions of football fans returning home and wanting to replicate the taste of Mexico.
“Not only did they come back with a love of chilli, guacamole, tortilla, quesadillas but some of them came back with wives,” said Myers, who described the Scots’ choice as a “shocker”.
“I was very surprised to see the final list because, as Si and I write cookbooks, we are pretty good at trying to give people what they want and there have been a few shockers.”
Bennets Bar in Leven Street, Tollcross was put into “lock-down” mode for two days in January while filming took place. Up to 40 Scots and Mexicans who joined the cast were sworn to secrecy about tonight’s episode featuring a fiesta-style meal.
Bar owner James Nisbet said the Bikers took over the kitchen during filming.
“It was a great atmosphere with a succession of plates of chicken, refried beans, tortilla and very hot sauces being brought out. We had Mexicans living in Edinburgh and fans who’d got into Mexican food after the World Cup all mixing together.”
Dougie Bell, owner of Lupe Pintos, a Mexican deli in Leven Street, opened one of the first Mexican restaurants in the city, Pachuko Cantino in Grove Street in 1987, and was contacted by the film crew to track down people with Mexican connections to take part.
He put out an appeal on Facebook and was soon contacted by people desperate to take part.
“I’d got hooked on Mexican food after travelling to LA to visit friends in the early 80s. I watched the World Cup and then saw how the Tartan Army had enjoyed the experience despite the result.
“From the moment I opened my restaurant I was incredibly busy. We heard it all the time – people saying ‘we were out there’ and just generally getting fired up”, said Mr Bell, who set up Lupe Pintos in 1991.
Edinburgh’s first Mexican restaurant was Viva Mexico which opened in 1984.
BBC2’s Hairy Bikers and Lorraine Pascale: Cooking The Nation’s Favourite Food is on at 7pm on BBC2.