Campbell Mickel, Michelin-Bib awarded chef and owner of Merienda Restaurant in Stockbridge and Exec Chef Cuisine Catering has taken the helm of Edinburgh institution, Eddie’s Seafood Market in Marchmont.
Explaining how Merienda and Eddie’s Seafood Market will merge, Campbell said: “When it came onto the market, I thought about it for a good while, as I do with everything.
“I thought how closely I work with world-class Scottish sea produce, how proud we are of it and how I can improve it. I had a chat with Sylvia and Eddie [Kwouk].
“I have been a customer of theirs for over 25 years, from the earliest days of my career as a young chef.
“I realised that although there were a lot of interested parties, few, if any, would be able to match my passion for Scottish seafood. I decided I was going to go for it that day.
“Talks started at the beginning of September and I was in there working alongside them in October. We have taken over from 1 November.
“Eddie has been an amazing mentor for the past month and I still have a lot to learn.
“He will help us settle in and continue to introduce us to his fantastic customers, of which there are so many. We have so many names to remember. It’s very hard especially when everyone’s wearing a mask.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to is delighted we are coming in with our experience with our restaurant and catering company. It might not be retail-focused but I have a huge depth of fish experience with a long background in purchasing fish for the best restaurants since the early 90s, while ensuring customers get the very best service with our hospitality backgrounds.”
Eddie's Seafood Market in Marchmont first opened its doors in 1986 and swiftly established itself as the go-to place for the finest quality produce - and unique service from owners Eddie and Sylvia Kwok.
Known by most simply as 'Eddies', it is widely recognised for its wares, from Scottish-sourced sushi-grade fish to a range of freshly caught shellfish.
Long before the one-in-one-out rules forced on commerce by Covid restrictions queues outside the couple’s cash-only shop were routine, especially at weekends.
Over the years, Eddie's has attracted famous faces such as celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver and has won countless awards including Scotland’s ‘Best Fishmonger 2019’ at the Slow Food Awards.
Campbell insists that the name won’t change, as Eddie’s Seafood Market is such an institution in the city.
Campbell added: ” I’ve been a chef for 35 years, I’ve been very lucky with a career, as hard as it can be, that I continue to get a thrill and kick out of every day.
“I’m humbled by my long career in fine dining, culminating in my own award- winning restaurant.
“Throughout lockdown, I was the first chef in Scotland to do deliveries and advised many kitchens nationally and internationally how to do so with impeccable service.
“That was phenomenal because I didn’t want to sit still and I didn’t want anyone else in the industry to sit still either.
“As lockdown went on, I would occasionally sit and watch Mellis Cheese from across Merienda in Stockbridge and marvel at their queue from 8am to 7pm and I thought it was remarkable.
“It didn’t cross my mind that I should be in the retail business. It was clear by autumn that we are not out of the woods with the virus yet. When the penny dropped, I made my move and here we are.”
“We want to add our own slant”
The selection of fresh seafood will stay, as Campbell is keen to showcase the ‘exceptional Scottish produce our seas produce.”
He said: “We do not sing their praises enough, especially the goodness and health benefits of them. We want to add our own slant on what’s been built at Eddie’s and what we think we can improve.
“We will add a touch of chef’s flair but generally you won’t notice dramatic changes. It’s still going to offer by far the best selection of fish and seafood in Edinburgh.
“Freshness will always remain our priority. Sustainability is essential. We’ll have Eddie on hand to help with many aspects including deliveries when restaurants open back up. Eddie has been integral to the Edinburgh market he has captured in the last 36 years.
“We’ve always known it was a great business and working there in the past few weeks, it is really astounding.
“It’s a community hub, a place where people come to chat and we’ll be able to share recipes and cooking tips.
“The outpouring to Eddie and Sylvia even in the last week before they retired was amazing, they might as well open an off-licence with all the gin, vodka and champagne they received from their customers and friends.
“You couldn’t move with the amount of flowers they received and it showed how important it has been to all the people in the area.
“We’ve had people travelling from Galashiels in the Borders and from Perthshire to buy their fish from Eddie’s. The postman Mo comes in twice a week to buy his fish from Eddie’s.”
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