Happy Birthday



Sarah Mellersh

Bill Kerr


Stephen Jardine

L Johnston, Edinburgh

Nigel Eastmond

Craig Millar

Vikki Wood

Willie McCurrach

Fred Berkmiller

It astonishes me to realise that a year has passed since the new Tom's Food! website first saw the light of day. And depressing to think that it was launched shortly after our last foreign trip. I asked a few notable readers for their thoughts and list the more printable ones below. Thanks to all my readers but a special thank you to those three on the top row. My late mum, the AP, stirred my interest in cooking and food in general. Her seminal work The Mammy's Cookbook subtitled The Mammy's Thesis, University of Life, inspired my own cookbook, A Bunch of Fives, which led directly to the Tom Cooks! column. Trust me, writing recipes isn't as easy as you might think.

In the middle is Bill Kerr, one of the finest chefs Scotland has ever produced. In my early cooking days Bill was incredibly generous with his time and with handy hints. Not only would he pass on recipes, but he took it on the chin when I complained that my versions of his recipes weren't as good as his. Finally, top left, is Mrs Walker, better known to this column as Sarah Mellersh. Sarah taught me loads in a brief two week course which transformed my cookery skills. I also have a great fat folder of her recipes which I use on a regular basis and, courtesy of Sarah, share with you from time to time.

Miranda Heggie

Miranda Heggie

So thanks to all of them, and to my guest writers. I'm sure no one will mind if I single out Miranda Heggie for the volume and quality of her contributions. Happy Birthday, Tom's Food! On to that difficult second year.

What They Said about Tom's Food!

Tom’s Food is a one-stop-shop for anyone who loves food and drink in Scotland. Tom really knows his stuff and delivers reviews that make you feel like you’ve been in the restaurant. His food and drink knowledge is exceptional but he’s also a very engaging and entertaining writer. If, like me, you think life is too short to waste a single meal, Tom’s Food is the place for you.

Stephen Jardine – Writer and Broadcaster

Before lockdown it was always something to look forward to reading the Tom Eats!  feature as it provided a very honest judgement on the restaurant scene when you visit. You provide us with recommendations of where to eat next, with concise scoring based on Cooking, Service, Flavour and Value for Money. Can’t wait to see you out and about again, Tom. You also keep reinventing and diversifying the website, the latest being Chef Watch.

Willie McCurrach OBE – Chef

An insightful blog from a talented amateur, who instinctively knows how to both cook and eat well.

Nigel  Eastmond AKA The Nosey Chef, Cook and Blogger

Tom Johnston. That man knows his stuff. Knows about food too! In today’s world of ignorant online food critics it's always refreshing to read Tom Eats! Knowledge and an understanding of what food should be about.

Campbell Mickel, Chef and Proprietor of Merienda, and Eddies Seafood Market

You can tell Tom enjoys researching the history of food & recipes. When reviewing he likes to see past the froth & the foam. Tom imparts his knowledge with some good humour and from the heart.

Vikki Wood – The Wee Restaurant, North Queensferry

Tom's website is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously.  I would recommend it to anyone wishing for some foody orientation or advice. Its content is straight from the heart and honest.

Fred Berkmiller, Chef Owner of L’escargot bleu, Edinburgh.

There are few things left during these Covid times worth looking forward to; fortunately against all odds Tom Food! still manages to inform and entertain with his knowledgeable reviews on local and international eateries (when lockdown allows) and also his take on cooking.

Craig Millar, Chef Owner Craig Millar@16 West End, St Monans

A vanity project.

L Johnston, Edinburgh

Tom WHO?

99.999% of the people of Scotland







  1. The Flying Scotsman on 10th February 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Many Happy Returns!
    We’ve enjoyed it all.
    (Nice cake – can I order 3 slices?)

    • Tom Johnston on 10th February 2021 at 8:28 pm


  2. Literary editor on 10th February 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Congratulations! Question is where next with this work of passion? Tom and Fred S taking trips round the restaurants of Edinburgh or Glasgow? You Tube channel? Keep up the good work

    • Tom Johnston on 11th February 2021 at 3:19 am

      Thank you. Where next? Well, the freedom to have an occasional review meal out with the Distinguished Literary Editor would improve everyone’s morale.

  3. Michael Greenlaw on 11th February 2021 at 1:02 am

    Great to get positive reviews for the reviewer – you have me guessing as to what the AP stands for – surely not Auld Parent?

    • Tom Johnston on 11th February 2021 at 3:20 am

      Very close. Ageing Parent. I think she was in her mid 50s when I started calling her that.

  4. Mark Baird on 11th February 2021 at 7:26 am

    Tanti auguri a te! Keep up the great work Tom. Even if we can’t enjoy good/great restaurants right now; your columns keep them in our hearts and minds. Saluti…

    • Tom Johnston on 11th February 2021 at 10:03 am

      Grazie, Signore.

  5. Fiona Garwood on 11th February 2021 at 7:58 am

    Many happy returns and congratulations to Tom’s Food (and LJ’s baking). Looking forward to more columns and some sampling of restaurant recommendations………….. sometime!
    Long live the lamb leek & potato recipe!

    • Tom Johnston on 11th February 2021 at 10:04 am

      And thanks to you to for all your encouragement and input. Next week will see your first article of the year.

  6. Wendy on 15th February 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Happy Birthday Tom wish we were there to sample
    Lesley’s cake. R&W xx

    • Tom Johnston on 16th February 2021 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, Wendy. Back soon, I hope. xx

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