Chef Watch – Dean Banks of Dean Banks at The Pompadour, Edinburgh


Featuring Dean Banks of Dean Banks at The Pompadour, Edinburgh

 How long have you been a chef?

18 years. I started when I was 15.

Why did you become a chef?

I’ve always had a love of food. I started helping in the kitchen when I was growing up, making cakes and biscuits, especially at Christmas time. I enjoyed making things from scratch and impressing people.

Favourite ingredient

Gochujang, which is a fermented chilli paste from Korea. It packs a real punch, but it’s so versatile. I even use it in one of my sorbet recipes.

Favourite or signature dish

St Andrews Bay Smoked Lobster with Mirin Butter (see right). When I can I go out with the fishermen to bring them in. Literally sea to plate.

Favourite kitchen tool or equipment (apart from sharp knives)

My Thermomix TM6. You can use it for everything from flavoured oils to purées to Hollandaise to mayonnaise. Every professional kitchen should have one.

Food hero(es)

Definitely Rick Stein. When I was growing up I loved watching him on TV. I went to work with him in Padstow for a couple of years when I was 18. He mixes local produce with ingredients from all over the world. That’s exactly what I do.

Any food you can’t/won’t eat

Ready made Hollandaise sauce. If you order eggs Benedict you can tell at once if the Hollandaise has come from a jar or a packet. Hate is a strong word, but I absolutely hate it.

Comfort food/guilty secret

Salted Caramel Magnum ice cream. I keep a supply at home which I pretend are for the kids. Perfect after a long day.

Stupidest customer or kitchen experience

It’s only happened once, but I remember a customer who was drunk and offensive to my staff. I won’t tolerate that. If a customer behaves like that, I’ll ask them to leave.


Dean Banks runs the flagship restaurant at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria (Caledonian) Hotel, Dean Banks at The Pompadour. His first solo venture, Haar in St Andrews, closed a little while ago, but will reopen in a new venue in October. The hugely successful Haar at Home opened just after lockdown and is now a permanent business, delivering high end food throughout the UK.

Photos by: Grant Anderson - / @grantandersondotme








  1. Janet Hood on 25th August 2021 at 6:52 pm

    I love Dean Banks, He is charismatic charming and talented – he will go far.

    • Tom Johnston on 26th August 2021 at 10:42 am

      He has gone pretty far already. As you say, a very nice guy. To reply to my questionnaire, he recorded his responses. At the end HE thanked ME for my time!

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