Sat, 20th Jul 2019
CODE Special
CODE Careers Q&A: Robert Clark


When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?

I have always had a keen interest helping my parents entertain at home and loved helping mum making shortbread and jams when I was younger.

My family has always enjoyed good food and I was lucky that they brought me along to restaurants from a young age. I would say the interest for hospitality has always been there. 


Where and how did you get your start?

I started in a bar called The Doric in the Old Town of Edinburgh. It was really by chance as I was looking for some extra money while I was at university. It was here that I realised how much I loved the customer interaction and the buzz it created.


Sum up your current work life in one sentence.

No day is ever the same which brings many challenges to the working day but also a lot of excitement and keeps me on my toes to stay focused. 


Who has been really influential on your career and why?

I have had many influential people in my career so far, from my first employer to the management and owners of my current employer, Kitchin Group. I would say it has to be a gentleman called John Davey who I met through the Gold Service Scholarship in its first year. He is a legend in the London hospitality scene and he really made it seem interesting and opened my eyes to see what was out there. He was the one who encouraged me to apply for a job at The Kitchin six years ago. I spent a total 3 years at the restaurant before I was promoted to my current position of Restaurant Manager at The Scran & Scallie.  If it wasn't for John Davey's influence who knows where I would be in my career.


What’s next for you?

I am going to be moving on within the Kitchin Group and head up our new pub with rooms, The Bonnie Badger in Gullane, East Lothian as the General Manager. The hotel will feature a Gastro pub - The Stables Dining Room, a private dining room, a bar and garden space and has just had a complete renovation. It's the first hotel project for the group and it is located 30 minutes from Edinburgh, along the beautiful coast line.


What’s your oe piece of advice to someone starting out?

Take yourself out of your comfort zone and try and take on as much information and knowledge that is thrown your way. Don't be afraid to ask questions. 


Where did you last have a great meal?

I was recently on holiday in the South of France and had my first 3 Michelin star dining experience at Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant in Valence. It was incredible. 


Are there any openings you are looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to the two openings within the Kitchin Group before the end of the year, Southside Scran in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh and The Bonnie Badger.  


Where is the most exciting city for hospitality?

I think Edinburgh is very exciting as we are spoilt for choice with the quality of ingredients that surround us. There are so many cracking independent restaurants cooking great food from fresh and seasonally changing restaurants to great seafood places. We're lucky to be so closer to the cold waters of the North Sea and all its stunning produce. 


Who would you identify as a rising star?

I would have to say my friends Shaun and Roberta Hall-McCarron. The husband and wife team recently opened a neighbourhood bistro, The Little Chartroom in the Leith area of the city and they're cooking hearty yet refined seasonal dishes. I would eat there more often if I could. 


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