‘A family of seven brothers and sisters with our parents busy full time. We kids had to take care of the home. My job was to get dinner ready for everyone. This was my passion and, after having worked in a hotel and restaurant as a washer-up, I decided that this was the path for me. Being awarded a Roux scholarship allowed me to make all my dreams come true. I had the opportunity to train at Les Prés d’Eugénie, Michel Guérard’s legendary restaurant. An incredible piece of luck for a Scottish apprentice chef! After working at other major restaurants in Paris, a new opportunity opened up in my native Scotland. I was offered the chance of opening the restaurant at The Gleneagles Hotel in my own country, just down the road from home. This was an opportunity I couldn’t miss! Wild salmon from the clear waters of the River Tay, red grouse from the nearby moors and the renowned Aberdeen Angus beef... Since 2001, I have used my French classical techniques to craft the fine produce of my native Scotland. To sing an ode to the surrounding countryside and awaken all the senses.’
"It needs no preparation, other than washing off any remaining grains of sand. When it’s fresh, it should be added to the dish at the last moment in order to preserve its salty, peppery flavor. At the height of the season, we offer pan-fried scallops with fresh pepper dulse, accompanied by razor clams and a dashi broth. I also use this seaweed in a number of other shellfish dishes."
"One of my favorites is a seaweed called pepper dulse, which is harvested by hand in the springtime near the Isle of Bute, a tiny island off the western coast of Scotland. It is found around rocks at low tide, and only in crystal-clear tidal waters. I discovered it about ten years ago through a harvester named Ian McKellor. Dulse doesn’t have a lot of commercial value because it’s hard to find and its leaves are small, but I call it my “sea truffle”! It’s dark red in color, and, as the name implies, its flavor is slightly peppery. There are many ways to use it: fresh, within a week after harvesting, or dried as a spice or to season bread, eggs, meats and salads, and even caramel. Like all seasonal ingredients, dulse, like truffles, wild salmon, asparagus and red fruits, keeps us mindful of the changing seasons, and of the need to take great care of these products. What makes dulse unique is its versatility — it’s the umami in my cuisine, and I can’t do without it."