I am currently the executive head chef at the Newmachar hotel and the chef patron of Tarragon Catering.
I have been in kitchen for 20 years now and have been all around the world, having worked under Charles Palmer. Thomas Keller, Thorsten Gillert, Martin Bosley, and in rosette and Michelin star establishments, but must admit I prefer being in a Scottish kitchen!
Scotland’s seasonal produce is top quality and fantastic to work with especially being from Grampian where we are sea to mountain, if always used the freshest seasonal and sustainable produce which has seen me win gold in several competitions and national titles.
Obviously, it has been a very tough year for everyone especially hospitality professionals, stop start stop start, the hotel has been absolutely flying since reopening after the first lockdown, and when closed my Tarragon dine at home meals have been very popular, so I have been busy all year round!
Since being in charge at the Newmachar we have been awarded North East of Scotland’s bar food venue of the year and also the afternoon tea venue of the year. The food we serve is classics with a twist and our specials are always seasonal fine dining, so you get a real mix of everything when you dine with us.
As for tarragon I was doing once a month set menu, but in lockdown I’m doing it fortnightly as well as a lot of private birthdays and anniversaries. I have enjoyed the experience of setting up the business and working around the challenges that have been posed by lockdown measures.
Also, over this last year, I made the semi-finals of craft guild of chef’s national chef of the year, also chef publishing- Norwegian seafood council seafood chef of the year final 4 which was judged by Michel Roux jr and Simon Hulstone. It was surreal sitting at the kitchen table first thing in the morning having a zoom call with these 2 ambassadors of the industry,
I was also nominated for the staff canteens awards for one to watch and lockdown community hero for my charitable work of afternoon teas for local pensioners and meals on wheels for local vulnerable people and appointed the national Scottish culinary team manager.
Balmoral estate roe deer tartare, nasturtium aioli,
pickled shimeji mushrooms, katies free range egg yolk
Roe deer tartare
500g roe deer
2 banana shallots
Dice all the roe deer and place in a bowl cling filmed tight against the meat till plating.
Dice the shallot and gherkin and place in a bowl.
8g tarragon vinegar
20g baquerones anchovy fillets
1.5g juniper berries grinded
6g Worchester sauce
40g nasturtium leaves
150g pomace oil
Place all in the thermomix apart from the oil and blitz, slowly adding the oil till emulsifies, place in a bottle and put in a fridge till plating.
100g flat leaf parsley
200g pomace oil
Place in thermomix and blitz at 60 ºc for 15 minutes, drain through muslin into a bottle and set aside.
1 rye bread baguette
Slice into thin rounds, oil and season and bake in oven for 8 minutes.
Pickle mushrooms and shallots
1 bunch of shimejis mushrooms
50g white wine vinegar
40g chardonnay vinegar
2 garlic cloves sliced.
1 pinch ground black pepper
Place all in a pan apart from mushrooms, bring to the boil, remove from the heat, and add the mushrooms cling film and set aside till plating.
To plate, place the dressing on a plate then the meat mix, garnish with the croutons, mushroom, parsley oil, shallots, cress, chives, nasturtium leaves, egg yolk, seasoning.
Herb crusted fillet of Gigha halibut, Essie farm asparagus wrapped in Parma ham, albert bartlet rooster pomme puree, garden peas dressed in gremolata, seaweed beurre blanc
1 whole halibut
Fillet the halibut and cut 4 190g portions and set aside in the fridge till needed.
Gruyere herb crust
80g panko breadcrumbs
90g gruyere cheese micro planed.
15g chopped parsley.
5g chopped chives.
80g soft unsalted butter
Place all in thermomix blitz, place on parchment paper roll and chill, then cut to required size.
1.5kg albert rooster potato
150ml double cream
Cook the potato in the skin, once cooked remove and scoop out into a mouli, reduce the cream, milk, and butter, add the cream reduction to the riced potato and adjust seasoning then place in a piping bag and reserve till plating.
Crispy Parma wrapped asparagus.
16 spears of asparagus
8 slices of Parma ham
Peel the asparagus and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and refresh, wrap in Parma ham then oil and seasoning baker for 5 minutes.
200g fresh peas (shelled)
Boil in salted water for 3 minutes, drain and refresh, set a side till plating.
25g flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove
1 lemon juiced and zested.
100ml olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Place all in thermomix, blitz, set aside till plating.
Seaweed beurre blanc
60ml dry white wine
60ml white wine vinegar
20ml double cream
125g cold unsalted butter (diced)
1tbsp dulse flakes
Reduce the wine and vinegar, shallots in a small saucepan until nearly dry add the cream, reduce heat then add the butter slowly to emulsify, then add dulse seaweed flakes.
To plate, pan sear the halibut till golden brown then place the herb crust on top and place in oven for 2 minutes, pipe the mash on plate [place the asparagus just off it and the warm dressed peas, place the halibut just off centre and drizzle with the beurre blanc.