With just weeks to go until the inaugural Dundee Food Festival, an acclaimed Scottish chef and former MasterChef finalist is confident the event will showcase an exciting new wave of talent within the city’s food and drink scene.

Dean Banks, originally from Arbroath, operates a string of restaurants and bars across the country from the seafood-focused Dulse in Edinburgh to Dune in St Andrews, where sharing boards and cocktails steal the show.

His first foray into the city of Dundee came late last year, with Temple Lane’s success already proving that the city is hungry (or thirsty) for independent venues that prioritise local producers and high-quality ingredients.

Pictured: Chef Dean Banks is just one of many taking part in this year's Dundee Food FestivalPictured: Chef Dean Banks is just one of many taking part in this year's Dundee Food Festival (Image: Supplied)

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 “People do seem to think of Dundee as a city that’s all about pies, pies and more pies,” he said ahead of the food festival’s launch on Saturday, July 6.

“Don’t get me wrong, they do a good pie and I love taking time to sit and eat one in the Square.

“But it means Dundee is not really known as a foodie destination like Glasgow or Edinburgh.”

This may have been the case before, but the tide is slowly turning for Dundee as attractions like the V&A museum and an increasingly vibrant programme of cultural events continue to tempt visitors away from the central belt.

And while the past few years have been far from easy for the hospitality industry, Banks says there are positives to be found in a post-Covid landscape.

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He said: “From a business point of view, there were pros and cons to covid.

“The cons were obviously that a lot of businesses closed, but the silver lining was that it gave a lot of people a new start.

“I’ve seen Dundee become a little bit more colourful in the last few years with independent restaurants, bars or food trucks.

“There are opportunities for hospitality in the city now that mean people like me can open restaurants which might not have been possible before.

“I know myself that I quite often go out with my family or friends for food or drinks in Dundee.

“It’s awesome to be a part of.”

A particular favourite of the chef is a local branch of the famous Janettas Gelataria at Slessor Gardens which he and son Felix are known to frequent as an after-school treat on Friday afternoons.

Elsewhere, he said it’s pop-up restaurants and food trucks, many of which have agreed to take part in next month's festival, that truly show the calibre of what the city is bringing to the table.

Of his own involvement in the festival he said: “We’ll be holding a Q&A at Temple Lane to talk about about all the sustainability aspects of the restaurant and bar world.

“There are quick fixes or small conversations that can be made to make sure your business is running more sustainably, so sharing that information is key.

“Even just swapping the spirits used in your bar for ones that are distilled in Scotland will help to reduce your carbon footprint.

“Events like the festival are great for the city because it’s a chance to showcase all of the independent pop-up restaurants or food trucks as well as people working every day in the food scene.

“Dundee might not be known as a foodie city, but it’s a beautiful place that’s full of beautiful people and it’s time to start shouting about what's on offer there.”

Pictured: Heather Street Food will be located at the V&A during the festivalPictured: Heather Street Food will be located at the V&A during the festival (Image: Supplied)

The weekend-long festival will be hosted in venues across the city from the V&A museum to the DCA.

The heart of the action will be Dundee city square, where all manner of traders from the Dough Dough Pizza Co to The Rolling Stove gather to create a street food village complete with live music and performances.

READ MORE: Scottish chef Dean Banks cuts food bills to show the true cost of VAT

Banks and his team will also be running a food stall of their own, serving Scottish sea trout bagels and locally sourced lobster rolls which demonstrate the delicious results of utilising local producers.

He said: “Independent businesses having a chance to come together is a great thing.

“A lot of the time we’re so separated in our own little worlds and get a bit of tunnel vision.

“The food festival will be an opportunity for us all to come together and share conversations.

“That’s really important.”

Pictured: Events suitable for all ages will take place across the festival weekendPictured: Events suitable for all ages will take place across the festival weekend (Image: Supplied)

Of the festival, Dundee City Council Fair Work, Economic Growth and Infrastructure convener Councillor Steven Rome, said: “I am very encouraged that so much progress is being made to deliver the first Dundee Food Festival.

“Excitement will no doubt continue to build in the lead-up to July and I hope that the range of attractions on offer will prove to be popular.”

The Dundee Food Festival will take place on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.

For more information, visit dundeefoodfestival.com.