MASTERCHEF finalist Dean Banks has been blown away by reaction to plans to bring his cuisine to the Capital.
The 30-year-old Scot lit up social media after asking for suggested sites for a pop-up eatery featuring him and his fellow TV cook-off finalists.
He was immediately inundated with offers and confirmed to the Evening News yesterday talks are progressing.
“It’s great to have such a massive following in Scotland, being Scottish myself,” he said.
“We’ve been in contact with people over one or two places.”
But with nothing confirmed as yet and with his hearts set on a city centre location, Mr Banks urged any other prospective landlords to get in touch.
“We want somewhere with a castle view, so customers can sit down and have that feel – especially people who have travelled for it.
“We’re still looking at options so if someone’s restaurant is closed for a day and they want us to take it over – come forward.”
Expected to open in February, the pop-up offers a taste of Mr Banks’ cooking to city diners before he plans to open his own permanent modern seafood restaurant in Edinburgh.
Plans are at an early stage but he hopes to open his high-end eatery in the city centre next spring or early summer, employing up to 25 staff – but is keeping tight-lipped over the name.
And he said the long-term aim is to open two more restaurants in St Andrews and the Dundee area, and another in London – taking inspiration from around the world.
Mr Banks, who was trained by TV chef Rick Stein, said: “The aim in Edinburgh is to create a modern seafood restaurant but with inspiration from around the world.”
He said the focus will be on using sustainable, quality produce while offering a reasonably priced menu.
Dishes will include the likes of his show signature dish Arbroath Smokie cooked three ways – butter-poached, mousse and foam.
He will also be serving fish and chips, but done as a tikka-marinated piece of halibut with Goan curry sauce.
Speaking about the design of the restaurant itself, he wants to move away from the classic seafood restaurant style of all white linen – instead aiming to give the place an “ocean feel”.
Having grown up in the Carnoustie and Arbroath area, Mr Banks says he plans to source much of his produce from individual fishermen coming into Arbroath.
Mr Banks’ success further cements the Angus town as a hot bed for culinary excellence.
In 2014, Jamie Scott wowed judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace to win the title.
Yet to bring his wares to the Capital, Jamie has upped the gastronomic offering in Fife with The Newport, in Newport-on-Tay.
He also appears at pop ups and guest chefs around Scotland.
After training with Rick Stein in Cornwall, Mr Banks worked in Edinburgh as a chef de partie in the Number One restaurant in The Balmoral and Paul Kitching’s 21212 restaurant in Royal Terrace.
He has also worked in Switzerland and recently returned to Scotland. He added: “I’ve always loved Edinburgh – it’s the best city in the world.”