Featuring Kamil Witek, Chef Proprietor, Aurora modern eatery, Leith, Edinburgh
How long have you been a chef?
I have been a chef on and off for 15 years. I started when I was 18 in 2006, working in the summer in Blackpool. After taking a few seasonal jobs, I started working in kitchens full-time in Edinburgh in 2012. From that moment on, hospitality became a passion, not only a job.
Why did you become a chef?
I started by accident as I quickly needed a summer job and couldn’t find anything else. Over the years my passion grew stronger and stronger thanks to the inspirational people I met. I got to know different cooking styles and levels, and as my passion grew I decided to pursue a career in this field.
Flour, because it’s so versatile and you can make so many delicious things just by adding water to it. Your imagination is the limit. And it’s also the main ingredient of all my favourite foods.
Favourite or signature dish
My favourite dish is the one I am yet to create. The constant pursuit of new flavours and combinations means I’m always projected towards the future - I get bored of my own dishes quite easily and I’m always thinking of what’s coming next.
Favourite kitchen tool or equipment (apart from sharp knives)
Kitchen cloth - in the kitchen, your cloth it is your third hand. We constantly deal with very hot items and without it you couldn’t touch anything. I keep my cloth closer than my girlfriend!
At this point in time, I admire the work of Daniel Humm the most. I like his minimalistic style, and the way he uses and respects the ingredients. He also recently switched to a fully plant-based kitchen - a brave decision that demonstrates how the future of fine dining is closely connected to sustainability.
Any food you can’t/won’t eat
I dislike some ingredients - such as melon and watermelon - but will I eat them anyway when they are part of a dish out of respect for the product, for the vision of the chef, and curiosity in seeing how it pairs.
Comfort food/guilty secret
My ultimate comfort food is pizza - I could eat it every day, twice a day! Actually, I did that for 3 months a few years back, when I was working in a pizzeria in Blackpool, and would do it again!
Stupidest customer or kitchen experience
A few years ago, before I opened Aurora, we ran out of whipped cream during service. I asked one of my chefs to go downstairs to the prep area and whip some cream quickly. He disappeared for some time and as we had to send the desserts I went downstairs to check on him. I found him and the whole prep area covered in corn flour and water mixture. The poor guy was so sweaty and had been trying to whip corn flour and cold water for ages - for some reason he was convinced that that’s how you got whipped cream! It was a very funny moment.
You'll find Aurora at 187 Great Junction Street, Leith Edinburgh. For their contact details and to read the Tom Eats! review (a whopping 23/25) click here.
Their new summer menu was launched on July 22nd. Book online here.