Official Guide to Edinburgh

Fiona Burrell

Fiona Burrell 600X250

Fiona Burrell is the founder of The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (ENTCS) and former principal of Leith's School of Food and Wine. She began her career in Edinburgh and has been teaching professional cookery courses for over thirty years. This summer the school are running their popular one month cookery course, which teaches the basics of professional cookery.

This is Edinburgh caught up with Fiona to find out her favourite places to eat in the city and why she loves Edinburgh so much... 

When I hear the words ‘This Is Edinburgh’, the first thing that springs to mind is…

The beautiful architecture, the history, and the place where my mother grew up. This is an extraordinary city, with its contrasts of wide Georgian boulevards and narrow closes and cobbles – it's a place to be walked around and enjoyed. I always feel it has two faces: the happy one when the sun is shining and the sky is blue; and the sad atmospheric one when the haar rolls in or it is pouring with rain. Either way it is a magnificent city.

What makes me particularly proud to live in the city is…

It’s so easy to be proud of Edinburgh when the tourist crowds flock to all the big events – the Festivals, Christmas and New Year, the rugby weekends – and praise for the city is all around. I love the buzz in the city when it is full of visitors enjoying themselves and feel so privileged to live, work and play here!

My best memory of the city centre is…

That has to be one particular Hogmanay when I had the opportunity to be up on the Castle Esplanade for the Hogmanay fireworks while knowing that two of my daughters were down among the thousands of revellers in Princes Street Gardens. We walked through the castle to get to the esplanade before the fireworks were set off and it was incredible to see the amount of work that goes into it. Standing right underneath the fireworks display and looking across the city was magical - although very loud!

A perfect day in Edinburgh ends with ….

Happy and enthused students leaving the cookery school with lovely food to eat, while I get a chance to chill out in one of Edinburgh’s many first-class restaurants. What would make it absolutely perfect is the chance to enjoy Edinburgh’s changing light and long summer evenings when, if the weather is good, there are opportunities to dine al fresco – either in a restaurant with a view or at home in the garden with a glass of perfectly chilled white wine.

As a local; my hidden gem that most visitors to Edinburgh may miss is…

There are so many in Edinburgh’s nooks and crannies, but tucked away in Thistle Street North West Lane is Café St Honoré – a Parisian atmosphere with delicious food and run by top chef, Neil Forbes - with the added attraction that one of my former students is now a chef there!

You can find out more about upcoming courses at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School at

Discover more insider knowledge from Edinburgh's Local Heroes or uncover some of our favourite Hidden Gems