With just one day to go until the Michelin Guide for Great Britain & Ireland ceremony, leading restaurants across Scotland wait with bated breath to find out who has achieved, or retained, a star for the coming year.

Well acquainted with this feeling is the Radford family team behind Timberyard in Edinburgh, one of only two venues in Scotland to be awarded a new star last year.

The Herald: (L-R): Ben Radford; James Murray (Head Chef); and Jo Radford from Timberyard. (L-R): Ben Radford; James Murray (Head Chef); and Jo Radford from Timberyard. (Image: Abi Radford, Timberyard)

 “I've worked here with the family since day dot, and we’ve always aspired to reach those standards of quality with our product, cooking and service,” Jo Radford said.

“That was put on hold coming out of Covid as our main priority essentially became staying afloat.

“But once we had made it to the other side, we laid down a marker and said, ‘This is what we would like to achieve’.

"That was the first conscious and public acknowledgement of our aim.”

READ MORE: Old Edinburgh pub venue for Michelin-starred Timberyard team

With 10 years of experience behind them, the team confidently began to implement changes that would help to put them on the Michelin radar.

This included welcoming James Murray to take over the kitchen in 2021 before 'taking a year to build and grow’ on already ​solid foundations.

As whispers of Michelin ceremony invitations began to pass between colleagues and peers in 2023, soon a very special delivery would make its way to Timberyard.

“It was an amazing moment for us when the letter came through.

“Although it was something we had been working towards, it was still a shock and quite surreal to have achieved something we had been dreaming of for such a long time.

“There was relief after knowing how much effort we had put into it and huge amounts of joy when the star was awarded.”

Almost one year on, Radford says that the prestigious accolade that hangs by their doorway has been integral in helping to maintain a full restaurant, even in traditionally quieter periods.

'Bums on seats’ as guests flock to get a taste of Michelin stardom has in turn allowed the team freedom to focus on delivering an elevated experience worthy of retaining the award.

“Sometimes when people achieve a star, they become afraid of change,” he continued.

“I think it’s done the opposite for us and has spurred us on to keep pushing and raising the bar.”

Refusing to rest on their laurels is a gutsy move, but one that’s encouraged by the unpredictable nature of the Michelin process.

“It’s a very mysterious grading system.

“There’s no simple formula that you can bash out and know a star is guaranteed.

“At first, we were uncertain if we were what Michelin was looking for because in Scotland they do seem to favour a classic-leaning restaurant.

“But with the way things are going and questions surrounding sustainability and locality of produce, I do think that’s a box they're looking to check which put us in a better position to be noticed.”

The Herald: Pictured: Timberyard is located on Lady Lawson Street in EdinburghPictured: Timberyard is located on Lady Lawson Street in Edinburgh (Image: Abi Radford)

Throughout the conversation, talk turns time and time again to the elusive nature of the formidable Michelin inspectors, with rumours of a restaurant aiming for the maximum three stars visited '16 or 17 times in the calendar year’ to ensure consistency.

Asked if his team has ever suspected a booking, Radford said: “It used to be a classic ‘single diner’ kind of thing where automatically everyone would be on high alert. 

“We’ve noticed a lot more, especially now that Michelin is posting on Twitter, that its a discreet photo with two dishes, indicating that they’ve come as a pair.

“Businesses do also start to share things, saying ‘I’ve heard Michelin are in town’ so you start to backtrack and try to remember faces.

“But it is mysterious, and they want to keep it that way.

“There’s a blissful ignorance that comes from that which allows you to keep doing what you do without pandering to it too much.”

As it stands, there are 12 Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland, with just one, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, holding two stars.

READ MORE: Can you spot the tourists here for the Michelin star? Ron Mackenna restaurant review: Timberyard

The long-term goal, Radford says, is to keep pushing for excellence at Timberyard until they too are ready to contend for a double rating.

He also highlights the importance of the recently introduced Michelin Green Star, a special award which recognises sustainable practices and innovative eco-friendly thinking.

“If more restaurants could put the same effort and energy into being that little bit more sustainable, it would be a much healthier industry,” he noted.

But, no matter what happens at tomorrow’s ceremony at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, there’s no taking a shine off Timberyard’s star power.

Radford said: “The initial joy of being a new one-star restaurant quickly turns into pressure to retain, and I’ve heard the higher up you go the more intense that gets.

“Just as important for us is staying true to our ethos and style which people have come to know in the last 12 years.

“The main thing for anyone who sets out to work in hospitality is to make people happy, and with a solid team behind us, we’re in a good place right now.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be one of the 12 restaurants in Scotland who are at Michelin level, and we’re very proud of that.”

Timberyard is located at 10 Lady Lawson Street in Edinburgh.

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