Uist man is Young Highland Chef of the Year

The Young Highland Chef 2015 judges and winner. Left to right: Derek Johnstone, Steven Doherty, Brian Maule, Andrew Fairlie, David MacDonald, Albert Roux, Glen Watson.  Photo taken by Mark Rodgers (MKR Photographic)
The Young Highland Chef 2015 judges and winner. Left to right: Derek Johnstone, Steven Doherty, Brian Maule, Andrew Fairlie, David MacDonald, Albert Roux, Glen Watson. Photo taken by Mark Rodgers (MKR Photographic)

A twenty-five year old chef from Iochdar, South Uist, David MacDonald has been named as the Young Highland Chef of 2015.

David beat off competition from nine other finalists to win the title.

He was selected as the winner by a panel of expert judges led by internationally renowned chef Albert Roux OBE KFO.

The other chefs on the panel were Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel; Brian Maule of Chardon d’Or in Glasgow; Steven Docherty of The First Floor Café in Windermere; Glen Watson of The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield and Derek Johnstone from The Golf Inn in Gullane, East Lothian.

David will be awarded with a week’s work experience at the Roux family’s two Michelin starred restaurant, Le Gavroche, in London, £500 and a trophy.

The Young Highland Chef competition, now in its sixth year, is organised by North Highland College UHI’s Burghfield House training restaurant and the Albert Roux Consultancy.

Entrants aged between 18 and 30 were invited to submit a three-course dinner menu for two with crab in the starter, venison in the main and apple in the sweet, with a budget of £20 per cover.

Ten applicants who were judged to have come up with the best menus on paper went on to cook their dishes at the final.

David, who is a sous chef at the New Drumossie Hotel in Inver ness, produced the winning meal.

He prepared crab and pearl barley risotto, roast crab claw, smoked eel and parsley mascarpone for the starter; loin of venison, boulangerie potato, caramelised onion puree, confit shallots, charred leeks, burnt onion and juniper jus for the main and vanilla custard, apple compote, toffee apple, cinnamon, shortbread and coffee for the sweet.

Speaking about his win, David said: “Having come second in the previous year’s competition, I was determined to win this year.

“I wasn’t so nervous for this year’s competition as I have learnt so much in the last year and felt more comfortable with this year’s brief.

“As soon as the brief was out I knew straight away what my menu would look like.

“I am excited to have won the opportunity of a week’s work experience at Le Gavroche. Just to be able to see how a kitchen of that standard operates will be amazing.”

Albert Roux said: “Young Highland Chef 2015 has without doubt seen unprecedented success.

“Entries were at a record level and choosing the finalists from the written entries was particularly difficult as the standard was extremely high.

“ Thought had gone into the dishes, with flavours and presentation of the highest order. The generosity of the sponsors and Burghfield House, the hosting venue, made this a competition young cooks will continue to aspire to.

“Well done to all who participated, particularly the winner David MacDonald, who will now spend one week training at Le Gavroche.”