This year French Budding Chefs have come West and discovered local food on the West coast of Scotland.
The nine young chefs from the Lycée Hôtelier de Dinard in Brittany took part in a full-immersion Scottish food trip as part of the Budding Chefs, a programme set up in 2011 by the Institut français d’Ecosse and Chef Fred Berkmiller.
From Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 March, the Budding Chefs team travelled from Edinburgh to the Isle of Mull, they stopped at Loch Fyne Oyster to meet Roy Brett (chef-owner of Ondine, Edinburgh) and see what a sustainably produced Scottish oyster looks and tastes like.
They then met with Brendan Reade to visit the Isle of Mull Cheese dairy farm, as well as to meet Guy Grieve and The Ethical Shellfish Company. They then met some highland coos at The Glengorm Estate farm.
A stop off at Nick Nairn Cook School where they met Chef Calum Richardson of The Bay Fish & Chips Shop (Stonehaven), to prepare the most perfect fish & chips.
After a busy trip, the French Budding Chefs will turn the Institut français d’Ecosse into a Pop-up Restaurant on Saturday 21 March evening.
For this new, intimate version of their Pop-up, a couple of former Scottish Budding Chefs will join the French brigade in the kitchen to deliver a ‘Retour de Mull’ menu, small sized dishes intertwining Scottish products with French culinary traditions.
Vincent Guérin, Director of the Institut français d’Ecosse said; “Forever we have been thinking about going to the west coast of Scotland and this 5th year is an excellent time to do so, a natural evolution of the programme. I know the people we are going to meet, those passionate producers and chefs, will make our Budding Chefs’ eyes shine! We may be going further through Scotland but we are back to our roots in Edinburgh and I look very much forward to welcoming all the fans of the Pop-up Restaurant, old and new ones, at the Institut français.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with the French Institute and local businesses to host these young chefs and journalists from premier French publications, introducing them to Scotland’s world-class food and drink. With the Year of Food and Drink well underway there is no better opportunity to sample our country’s many culinary delights and inspire those with a love of food to experience our bountiful natural larder.
“We are delighted to have helped organise a packed itinerary which will showcase the richness of our fresh produce, from seafood to dairy farms. The group will also meet with local suppliers who contribute to Scotland’s gastronomic feast. I have no doubt that these budding French chefs will be blown away by their trip and experience some of the best and most delicious food and drink that Scotland has to offer.”
Tickets for the Pop-up Restaurant are now on sale and the full programme is available online on www.buddingchefs.net