Brian Canale – Executive Development Chef at Heritage Portfolio answers the Citylicious 'Quick Fire Questions'
over 1 year AGOIain Fenwick
Heritage Portfolio was founded in Edinburgh in 2002 and since then has consistently produced outstanding catering and event services for private party, private dining, wedding and corporate clients throughout the UK. We have also offered exceptional 'in-house' cafe services in some of Britain's leading visitor attractions, where we have developed a loyal repeat customer base.
Many of our business clients and venue partners have worked with us, and only us, throughout the past decade and more, because they know they can put their faith in our unwavering commitment to the highest possible standards of cooking, service and imaginative event delivery.
Our mantra is ‘building a business to be proud of’, and as we grow and flourish in the world of bespoke events and weddings, we still remain true to our original ethos: to provide an amazing experience that goes beyond the remarkable food we serve.
Brian Canale – Executive Development Chef at Heritage Portfolio
Why a chef?
I became a chef when I was aged 17. Before that I had been working as an apprentice joiner building roofs, but gee wiz, it was far too cold!
My family were part of the influx during the 2nd world war of Italians and not long after they were part of the real coffee and ice cream parlours in Glasgow making their own flavours and the real ice cream sundaes and pop floats. Being part of an Italian family, food is our way of life - it’s when the family are all around. I loved helping to prepare food with my family and socialising in the kitchen, so that’s where my inspiration came from: cooking with my family and making good food and having good fun.
The real reason I became a chef came from my love of travel. Having the freedom to travel the world, meeting some fantastic people from different continents and understand the different cultures and foodie ways of life.
Who was my mentor?
A chef called Bill Costly who is now one of Scotland’s most honoured and respected chefs owning 5 hotels and 6 gastro pubs.
He taught me the meaning of real honest cooking the respect of the product. He also introduced me to the culinary competition scene where I became part of the Scottish culinary team.
He gave me the skill to win the following throughout the UK competition scene:
34 gold medals
Scottish chef of the year twice
My journey began in Glasgow working in a restaurant called the Rogano, which was the oldest seafood restaurant in Scotland with multiple accolades, a really good start to my career learning from some real talent.
I then moved to High Grove House working under Bill Costly for 3 years. Knowing my eagerness to learn and commitment he managed to arrange a month’s experience in London working under the master chef Pierre Kauffmann at la Tante Claire, a 2 Michelin establishment 28 chefs full restaurant cooking at the highest level.
From here I moved over to the Channel Islands and landed in Jersey where I worked in the Longville Manor, a privately owned hotel with 1 Michelin star and 4 rosettes. Here I found paradise with the love of cooking with fish from our back door! Spear fishing became a passion where we would scuba dive and catch fish that clients would be eating that night. We also owned our own hives for honey, there were 5 acres of fields for growing our own produce: a real chefs dream! After 4 years in Jersey, I got itchy feet and the ‘travel bug’ hit me. I bought a bike and got a ferry over to France where I travelled down to the South of Italy working in a variety of cafés, hotels and farms. I did this for 2 years before returning for another short stint in Jersey and then I came back to Scotland where I joined Heritage Portfolio, and have been here for the past 13years, now as the Executive Development Chef creating peoples foodie dreams.
My family who all have such fun cooking and make it an enjoyable, social experience.
Seafood caught and gathered by myself cooked over an open fire with good friends.
Frozen battered fish!
I have two…
The first is in the south of Italy – Catanzaro - a shack owned by the same family for generations sitting on the beach cove where they have 2 small fishing boats catching the fish that we eat. Great simple cooking with a fantastic atmosphere and good beer.
The second is in Martin Wishart’s restaurant in Edinburgh. He has a knack of creating fantastic flavours and textures with honest food. To me he is one of the best.
Fresh, products from family run businesses and not factorized, real people handling the products with respect - so I would say my style is honest cooking. If the product is perfect then I would never try and disguise it.
Thailand - I feel that I have missed out on some wonderful and inspirational cooking that, to me, is one of the world’s greatest styles.
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