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On November 24th, 2018, a team of talented Scottish Chefs will be representing Scotland in the Culinary World Cup.

This prestigious event pits the culinary expertise of the greatest nations for the chance to be crowned ‘World Cup winner’ and to see their country placed as one of the most highly regarded culinary nations in the world.

Last week, I was honoured to preview the menu of the Scottish entry in their last run through before they fly out to Luxembourg for the main event. Hosted at Queen Margaret University’s 1875 Restaurant, this was a chance for The Scottish Chefs to run through the prep, cooking, and delivery to over 100 lucky guests.

Scottish Chefs Dinner Arrival

The famous Scottish Chef, Albert Roux (!) had recommended the University as the ideal locale for this all-important final run through. Chef Albert is the patron of ‘Scottish Chefs‘, the Federation of Chefs Scotland (FCS). Formed in June 1994, the organisation exists to promote excellence in all areas of the food & hospitality industry in Scotland.

Scottish Chefs World Cup Dinner

Our evening began with proper Champagne (none of that ‘fizz’ nonsense) and delicate canapé. These delicious morsels seem designed to drip down my white shirt – wonderful beetroot with goats cheese and some other green stuff that I inhaled a little too quickly.

Before digging in, we were given a little background to the World Cup and to the history of ‘Scottish Chefs’ before a generous presentation of £5,000 from Albert Bartlett to support the Scottish Chefs in this and future quests. An inspiring speech from Chef Albert left us in no doubt that Scotland had some of the greatest raw ingredients from sea and land which are being harnessed to create world-class dining experiences.

Dinner, from the Scottish Chefs

The starter of seared scallop just melted in the mouth, the Steak went the same way too and suddenly we were on desserts. (Note, copious amounts of fine wine and great company may have added to this illusion of time.)

Scottish Chefs World Cup
Note – their plating skills far outweigh my photography skills

The dessert, of Chocolate Mousse and Sea Buckthorn demonstrated how the Scottish Chefs can add locally sourced ingredients to create world-beating dishes. Sea Buckthorn is a prickly plant with orange coloured berries that grows extensively on the Scottish coast particularly around East Lothian where QMU is situated. 

What I enjoyed about this menu was the simplicity and the focus on the best ingredients brilliantly prepared. There were no attempts at ‘Heston-style’ with unnecessary frills, just a solid focus on the elements that matter.

Our dinner was cooked by the Scottish Chefs with waiting service from QMU students which gave them yet more ‘real life’ experience. 

As I publish this article, the Scottish Chefs will be making their last preparations before heading to the Culinary World Cup. Supported by Villeroy & Boch, the World Cup will put Scotland against other teams including France, Spain, Italy, the USA, Thailand, Norway and many more. No pressure then… 

My thanks go to Queen Margaret University for inviting me to this wonderful dinner;  to the Scottish Chefs and their sponsors, and to my table host, Dr. Richard Butt and guests for a memorable evening!


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