Chef and owner, 64 Degrees and Murmur
Photo by Adam Bronkhorst
Are you local?
I’m not. I’m from Scotland. But I’ve lived in Brighton since 2004, and I very much see myself as a local. I may not have the accent, but I love the place.
What brought you here?
I used to come down for weekends while I was working in London, just to be by the sea really, though I enjoyed the nightlife. Initially I got a job at the Seattle Hotel, which had just opened at the Marina. Then, after travelling in Canada, I came back and met Rob Shenton from Due South, and became their chef.
What do you love about it?
I love the fact Brighton is a city with a small-town feel. It’s very friendly. Also - and this will sound weird - I really like stormy days, so I like the beach when it’s rough and brutal. I used to love working at Due South when a storm was coming in.
Where was the first place you ate?
It was a place called Saucy near Palmeira Square. The food wasn’t that great - I can’t even remember what I ate - but I remember thinking it was a fantastic location for a restaurant.
Where do you live?
I live next to St Ann’s Well Gardens with my partner Carla Grassy, who’s a photographer. We met at Due South when she was working as a waitress. We’ve got two girls, Bonnie, seven, and Heidi, five.
What do you make of the food scene in Brighton?
There’s a lot of curiosity in Brighton, and people enjoy something different. There are some great chefs here – I get on really well with Steven Edwards of Etch, Matt Gillan of Pike and Pine, and Duncan Ray of the Little Fish Market – and I think the standard of food is just going to keep getting better. I predict there will be a Michelin-starred restaurant in the future.
Where do you eat?
I could eat at Chilli Pickle every day, and I absolutely adore Pho. I also spend a lot of time in the Flour Pot Bakery. If I was going on a night out, I’d go to Meat Liquor for their dirty chicken burger. It could well be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
And your worst dining experience?
I got barred from Buddies once. It was a misunderstanding…
What would you change about Brighton?
It will sound petty, but the parking. I hate driving in Brighton. It kills me. I drive in and out, no worries, but I’d rather do anything than drive around the city centre. Other than that, I think it’s pretty perfect.
When did you last swim in the sea?
I went skinny dipping a few years ago, but I haven’t been in since. I’ve not been a massive fan of open water since I had a really bad snorkelling experience in Australia where I met a massive fish.
Photo by Adam Bronkhorst