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Chef Paul Wedgwood tells us about the Florence Chef Swap

22 June 2015

As part of the upcoming Florence Chef Swap, we caught up with Edinburgh's own Paul Wedgwood to find out more about his involvement in the celebrations. 

Having successfully run a restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh for over six years, Paul Wedgwood loves to travel to get new culinary ideas and flavours for his menu. He also has a strong passion for local foraged produce, which he will be packing in his suitcase when he heads over to Italy this month! 

About the Florence Chef Swap

The special trip marks the 50th anniversary of the twinning of Edinburgh and the beautiful city of Florence. This special event will reaffim the twinning of the two cities as Wedgwood will be joined by Edinburgh's Lord Provost Donald Wilson, who will meet with the Mayor of Florence - the Honourable Dario Nardella. 

Wedgwood will stay in Florence for a week, showcasing his fantastic Edinburgh flavours and promoting the city as a culinary destination. 

Florence will return the favour in October, when an Italian chef will come up to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival to share their very own local culinary tips and tricks. 

Chef Wedgwood will be embarking on his Italian adventure this month, so we caught up with him before he set off to find out what he plans to do and what excites him most about this trip: 

Can you tell us a bit about what you will be doing there?

It's a wonderful event that I am honoured to get involved in. It's great for my personal growth, and to gain experience in a high end fast paced Italian kitchen.

I'll be cooking for a big gala dinner for the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and local Florentine dignitaries, then for the rest of the week I will be providing Scottish themed apertivos. 

What are you most looking forward to learning while you are out there?

I'm looking forward to taking knowledge and expertise from the local chefs by learning about their techniques and style of cooking. Witnessing their use of local ingredients is also something I’m looking forward to finding out about to see if any of these techniques can fit in my repertoire in Edinburgh.

Can you tell us about the menu you will be preparing with the team in Florence?

It's a Scottish Italian fusion menu, bringing together both Scottish and Italian techniques and crossing over both flavours. I'll be taking over some local produce to use in my dishes, including black pudding, Arbroath smokies as well as locally foraged produce, for example green oil.

What aspect of Scottish cookery are looking forward to sharing with the Italian chefs in Florence?

I am really looking forward to showing the Italian chefs how to make Haggis, which I'll be making from local Italian sheep!

How would you describe the Edinburgh dining scene to your Italian guests?

The Edinburgh dining scene offers something for everyone, Edinburgh is renowned for its restaurants and quite rightly so. Quite simply - it is innovative, exciting and constantly changing. This is a very exciting opportunity for Wedgwood to expand our culinary knowledge and share a little bit of Italy with our customers here in Edinburgh as well.

Are you intending in showcasing any Italian-influence dishes in Wedgwood The Restaurant once you return?

As I already have a sweet potato gnocchi on the menu at Wedgwood which is from Italian influence, I would certainly imagine so. I am always looking for new exciting recipe inspirations and I think Italy will definitely tick many boxes so yes, watch this space! 

Find out more about Edinburgh's vibrant dining scene in our Food and Drink section.