Home cooking: Stuart Ralston on how he turned his worn recipe notebook into a cookbook

He is regarded as one of the most talented and innovative chefs in the UK today having recently been named in a top 100 list.

And now chef Stuart Ralston is sharing some of his creative recipes in a new cookbook which he hopes will inspire people to give it a go at home.

Stuart grew up in Glenrothes in a family of chefs.

From learning his trade in kitchens around Scotland, he moved to New York to work in Gordan Ramsay’s flagship two Michelin starred restaurant, The London Hotel.

He then spent two years as Chef de Cuisine at Sandy Lane, Barbados cooking for the rich and famous before returning to Scotland where he opened three restaurants in the capital.

Aizle was opened in 2016, followed by Noto in 2019 and tipo in 2023, and Stuart is also set to take over the late Paul Kitching’s restaurant 21212 later this year.




His cookbook, Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts, traces his evolution as a chef and brings together the finely crafted dishes he creates in his restaurants to the food he likes to cook at home.

Scared to forget any ideas, Stuart has kept a notebook to jot down flavour combinations and recipes throughout his career and is looking forward to sharing them in the new book.

‘This has been an exciting journey for me to see my worn notebook made into a smart bound cookbook.

‘There are so many varied cooking styles to what I cook in my restaurants and the food I create at home so it’s great to see them come together.

‘I hope the book gives readers the inspiration to try something new each time they open it.’


Stuart said:


I wanted to write a book that appealed to a mass audience of enthusiastic home cooks looking for solid basic recipes for simple dishes that don’t cost too much. And also to the professional chefs who may want to see the craft of what we do at the restaurants. It’s important all the recipes worked, so the book is actually useful and lastly a chance for anyone who knows our restaurants to understand a bit about myself and how they came about which I think is a unique story to tell. I hope people just enjoy the book, use it often and see that cooking can be quite simple if you just try.

It’s hard to say what my favourite recipe is. I am proud of it all, and love to eat them all, but one of the most simplest is the chocolate tart recipe. If I make it, it usually lasts us a few days and every day I will take a chunk off as a snack.

I never kept recipe notes all these years with a view to make a cookbook. I kept them because I was scared I would forget them. I always felt creative, but felt like I would forget good ideas and it was something that stayed with me at times when I had been on my own, it gave me a purpose to work on.

Working with Gordon Ramsay was a very inspiring time. It was at times scary, at times anxiety inducing, but I learned a lot.  It was a very different standard than I was used to, I wouldn’t say you’ll see any traces of him as I am my own person with my own ideas , but essentially the skills I learned are the same ones I use today. 

My best advice to people looking to start cooking at home is to just give it a go. Work clean, set out your ingredients beforehand and allow yourself enough time to do it. Don’t give up if you mess up, try it again and learn, cooking for yourself is so much more rewarding than you think.

Stuart Ralston: Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts – a Cookbook is available to order now and will be published on 6 October. www.kitchenpress.co.uk


Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages.

Plus, don’t miss the September’s issue of Scottish Field magazine.