AT the start of a year that may be dominated by debate about Brexit a champion of Scotland’s vibrant restaurant scene says ministers must ensure the country’s doors remain open to talented newcomers.


Emily Dewhurst.



What is your business called?

Kitchen Press Ltd.

Where is it based?


What does it produce?

We are Scotland’s only specialist cookery publisher, working mostly with restaurants and street food markets. We aim to capture the essence of popular neighbourhood restaurants and the characters behind them and are careful that every recipe works as well at home as it does in a professional kitchen.

To whom does it sell?

In the early days of the business, our model was based on sales in the area local to the restaurant, making books very visible in all the independent local shops - it was all about building that sense of communitys. Increasingly, we now also sell at a more national level: Waterstone’s have been really big supporters of our latest title, Kirsten Gilmour’s Mountain Cafe Cookbook, and as a result that’s seen strong sales all over Scotland. The Mountain Cafe Cookbook has also been our first export - Kirsten is originally from New Zealand, and the book was picked up by a NZ distributor pre-publication.

What is its turnover?

We’re a very niche, boutique business, growing year on year. Turnover was around £60,000 last year, and with the projects we currently have in production we’re looking at further growth for 2018.

How many employees?

I work with a team of freelancers as it allows me to be creative and flexible in terms of choosing the right specialists to work on each project.

When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

When I left university, my first jobs were in publishing (at Canongate and Leckie & Leckie) so, despite the fact I’d been working in other areas since, I felt I had enough of a grounding in the industry to go back to it. Our first book was with a tiny but wonderful cafe in Dundee called The Parlour - it struck me that if it was in London, not Dundee, someone would have published their cookbook a long time ago. I was on maternity leave at the time and the idea kept nagging at me. I’m still really proud of that one - it sold through its first print run in three weeks and is still selling six years later.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I worked in music development for the local authority - running events, festivals and workshops in the city and supporting access to all sorts of musical opportunities.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We did The Parlour Cafe Cookbook on a ridiculously tight budget using £5,000 of my own savings.

What was your biggest break?

Publishing Recipes from Brixton Village in 2014 - Brixton Village was the product of a very innovative urban regeneration project, and we started getting taken a lot more seriously when that came out. It opened the door to our series of books about London markets: The Greenwich Market Cookbook came out in 2016 and our next book is about the many food cultures of Brick Lane, authored by the British-Bangladeshi blogger, Dina Begum.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

The people I work with are a real inspiration. Making a cookbook is a very collaborative process and it involves a lot of eating, a lot of talking about food, talking about family, influences, inspirations, travel, culture, everything - food is the most evocative of subjects.

What do you least enjoy?

The waiting game is probably the hardest thing - I get very excited talking to passionate restaurateurs about potential projects, but they tend to be working flat out running businesses so the time commitment needed to get a book published is a huge ask.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Keep the doors open after Brexit. A lot of the people that I work with are already starting to find it tough to get well-qualified staff, and if the exit process isn’t carefully managed that’s going to have a real impact on the restaurant sector. For us, that means it will potentially have an impact on a restaurant’s capacity to think beyond the day to day and to look at creating a book. In general, the books we publish reflect the many positives of a multi-ethnic UK and the benefits bought by people coming to live and work here.

How do you relax?

I’m a food nerd, so eating, cooking or talking about food. Also, reading a lot of fiction, doing yoga and travelling the wide world as much as I can.