Meet Café Bohème’s John Patillo, who brings his Scottish roots to traditional French cuisine…

John found his way into a kitchen at 16 and hasn’t looked back since.

‘I had left school and was looking for a trade apprenticeship, thinking I’d be a mechanic, but I landed a position as a commis chef at the Silver Darling and discovered a passion for cooking and learning more about food. I was there for seven years before working at The Olive Tree, Stonehaven’s Tolbooth and Les Amis, before coming to Café Bohème fourteen years ago.

‘I’ve always worked in restaurants that used a lot of seafood. That’s where my passion lies and Scotland’s waters offer some of the best fish and seafood in the world. I love creating and developing new dishes and growing Café Bohème’s own veg, fruit and herbs. I find a lot of inspiration in books, other restaurants and TV programmes.

‘I was brought up on roast dinners and home-made ice cream and even now I’d opt for shellfish, game and smoked bacon if I was restricted to three choices.

‘My style of cooking has definitely changed as I gained experience over the years. I was very daring and experimental when I started out, but my approach now is more mature. I love classic French recipes made with modern techniques, home-grown or local ingredients and new equipment.’

John’s Coq au Vin

This is a traditional, hearty French casserole. Serve it with creamy mashed potatoes and warm chunks of crusty bread for an easy, but very satisfying, weekend dinner for four.


  • 4 free range chicken legs
  • 4 thick slices of pancetta
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, roughly diced
  • 6 banana shallots, quartered
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of burgundy reduced to 300ml
  • 100ml port
  • Few handfuls of chestnut mushrooms, quartered if large
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced or crushed
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme


Preheat the oven to 180oC, or 170oC for a fan oven.

Use a large, lidded casserole pot that will work on both the hob and in the oven. Seal the chicken legs in the pot and remove them from the pot. Add the pancetta to the pot and fry gently until the fat is rendered, then add the prepared garlic, shallots, carrots and celery.

Gently fry for around five minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and port. Add the rosemary, thyme, mushrooms and chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the volume is reduced by a third.

Add chicken legs back into the casserole pot, place a lid on the pot and put in oven at 180oC for 1 hour.

Season to taste before serving

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