What is your previous experience working as a chef?
I previously worked under Michael Smith at the Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye before spending several years with Martin Wishart in Edinburgh. Moving on I went to Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume and then transferred over to The French in Manchester under Adam Reid as head chef.
What made you want to work at The Torridon?
Location. Situated close to the source of so much world-class produce is really exciting. After meeting with Dan and Rohaise and seeing how passionate they are not only about the guest experience but also about their staff, which truly is like an extended family, I just had to be part of it.
Tell us more about your ethos, including suppliers and techniques?
Respect. For the produce, team, suppliers, area. We’re all here to provide the guest with the best possible experience and sample just a little of what this great land has to offer. We treat everything from the carrot to the Turbot with the same care. This year we’re making a big push to be more environmentally friendly and green so we’ll be working even closer with the local hunters, fishermen and farmers and indeed our own resort from where we grow and forage so much amazing produce.
What kind of dining experience would you like to provide guests at The Torridon?
The dining experience is part of a bigger picture. From the moment of check-in to the breakfast the following morning, all the staff strive to exceed guest expectations even from a 5 star property. The restaurant itself has recently been refurbished to create a more refined but relaxed atmosphere. You know you’re somewhere special but you can still be yourself.
What are your main inspirations for creating dishes and menus?
My inspiration for the menu is right outside the door! We are in an amazing part of the country for produce so all I want to do is respect it and by that, I mean doing as little to it as possible and working within the seasons. Inspiration may come from a walk around the grounds with our gardener Tom discussing what’s growing or working with the cooks in the kitchen and talking about food and restaurants.
What’s your favourite ingredient and why?
My favourite ingredient is probably the same as a lot of chefs- salt. It changes everything. Another favourite would be the Jerusalem artichoke, which is lucky as we have thousands growing right here!
If you had to choose one dish on the menu, what would it be and why?
A dish of raw beef and preserved cucumber. The meat is our own highland cattle and the cucumber is from last seasons crop. We add some egg yolk for creaminess and croutons for crunch. The dish is topped with a little caviar for extra indulgence. A simple dish but very moreish that uses several things produced right here at The Torridon.
What are you especially passionate about in the hospitality industry?
I am very passionate about passing on the right skills to the next generation of chefs. When a young cook comes into the kitchen full of drive and enthusiasm, that’s exciting and must be natured and encouraged. It is a very different industry now even from when I came into it and more than ever we must think about respecting one another not just as chefs or numbers but as people. As we become more and more aware of our footprint on the planet it’s great that we look more at what we as cooks can do to minimize our impact through using local, recycling and treating every product with the same level of respect.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I’m trying to get fit and bag some of those Munro’s! Food is always on my mind so eating out is always on the cards.