Brought up in a Scots-Italian family on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Carina Contini is extremely passionate about food.
Opening her first restaurant in 1996 through her husband Victor’s family delicatessen, she has won a series of awards, including The Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Food Personality of the Year and Harpers & Queen Scottish Food Personality of the Year. She was also named one of Scotland’s Most Influential Food Personalities by The Herald.
Carina and Victor left the family business in 2003 and opened Centotre (now renamed Contini Ristorante) on Edinburgh’s bustling George Street. Serving fresh, simple southern Italian food, using a combination of delicious produce from Italy and Scotland. Centotre, won Restaurant of the Year in 2004 and The Judges’ Special Achievement Award from The List Eating & Drinking Guide in 2005.
In October 2009, Carina and Victor opened The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at The Scottish National Gallery on Princes Street. Serving traditional Scottish fayre, the kitchen is filled with the best produce from over 60 artisan producers around Scotland. In 2012 it won the Best Customer Service of the Year award at the Scottish Restaurant Awards and the Best Sustainable Business Award at the 2013 CIS Awards.
The Contini family added to their growing restaurant portfolio in 2014 with the launch of Cannonball at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Here they offer customers traditional Scottish food with an Italian twist in a location boasting one of the best views in the world – Edinburgh Castle. Following major renovations in spring 2016, a new whisky bar and private dining space was created in collaboration with Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch.
As well as her busy restaurants, Carina also found time for her beloved Kitchen Garden at the family home on the south side of the city. The garden supplies vegetables and herbs to all Contini venues around the city.
Carina was the first female chef to be appointed to the Slow Food Alliance and was named a Scotland 2014 Food and Drink Ambassador.
Her first book, Carina Contini’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook, was published in April 2014.