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Head chef, Jonny Wright


Meet the team:

Head Chef Jonny

15 June 2023

In our all-day dining brasserie, The Spence, Jonny Wright takes the helm. Native to Scotland, his deep-rooted passion for showcasing the finest Scottish produce guides him in curating a menu that pays homage to the region, collaborating with local producers to serve seasonal dishes that blend modern flair with timeless classics. In the restaurant itself, expect laidback ambience setting the stage for an array of delectable sharing plates and our now-infamous dessert trolley. At 34, Johnny brings more than 15 years of experience to the restaurant, having honed his skills at esteemed London establishments including Jason Atherton’s Berner’s Tavern and the award-winning Palomar restaurant.

Jonny plating up a fish dish at Gleneagles Townhouse
Jonny plating up a fish dish at Gleneagles Townhouse
A served fish dish on a marble table at Gleneagles Townhouse
A served fish dish on a marble table at Gleneagles Townhouse

How did you become a chef?

I don’t really know! I think I just fell into it. But I guess from a young age, I did a lot of cooking and baking with my mum. I was average at school – good but not great – so I decided to leave and get a job as a chef. I didn’t take it very seriously for the first couple of years but then I began to enjoy it a lot more.

Tell us a little bit about your day…

A typical day at The Spence… there’s always a lot happening because we have five kitchens that we work from, so there’s a lot of movement with deliveries and prep in the mornings. After lunch service, we have a little break in the day where we get lots done in terms of meetings, placing orders and that sort of thing before we go straight back into a busy dinner service.

Why did you choose a move to Edinburgh?

The thing I love most about living in Edinburgh is that it’s never really too busy anywhere. Moving up from London, it’s been really nice. It’s quiet enough to enjoy but busy enough to have lots to do. There’s always something nice happening, but it’s not crazy like London. We’re close to the mountains, close to the sea, and I love that.

What’s in the pipeline?

The project I’m most excited about at the moment is our big Spence Brunch Club, with displays of shellfish, cheese, charcuterie and even a room just for dessert! It is really exciting to bring that big buffet vibe to Edinburgh, which nobody’s really doing here at the moment — a little slice of London or Dubai-style brunch here in the city.

Top picks from this season’s menu?

I’d definitely be starting with the asparagus and truffle. For my main, I’d have the barbecue pork chop with Romesco sauce. And for dessert, I’m a fruity kind of guy so I’d have the strawberry meringue.

What do you love most about your role?

The team that I work with. I love the people here — each and every one of them. It’s nice working with so many different people who love what they do and always bring 110%. Everyone gets on so well, which is great! The food is super important and I love that we can keep changing the menus and developing, but if you don’t love the people that you work with then you’re never going to enjoy your job.

Any top tips for budding chefs?

My number one tip for chefs out there is… don’t jump around from job to job. Stick somewhere, get around all the sections, learn as much as you can, and remember it’s not always about how much you can get from somewhere but how much you bring to the table. My advice is that commitment is key to success!


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