Overall ranking: 82 (94 in 2012)
Chef ranking: 21 (28 in 2012)
Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred chef runs the 50-seat Andrew Fairlie restaurant at the iconic luxury hotel Gleneagles in Auchterarder, set within 850 acres of rolling Perthshire countryside. In 1984 20-year-old Fairlie won the first Roux Scholarship, gaining the opportunity to train with legendary chef Michel Guérard at Les Prés d’Eugénie in Gascony, during a period when the UK’s food reputation on the world stage was poor and a foreigner working in a French kitchen almost unheard of.
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During his career Fairlie has worked in Australia, Kenya, London, Ireland and France. In 1987 he was chef de cuisine on the Royal Scotsman train, part of Orient-Express, for two seasons. He then arrived at the Hotel Disneyland in Paris where he set up the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant before moving to the 360-cover California Grill, which he has credited for developing the organisational and management skills required to run a top-flight kitchen.
In 1994 he moved to Ken McCulloch’s 27-bedroom townhouse hotel One Devonshire Gardens (now part of Hotel du Vin) in Glasgow to take on his first head chef role. McCulloch’s faith was rewarded with a Michelin star.
After seven years at One Devonshire Gardens – where his star was the city’s only one at the time – he left to open Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, committing £115,000 of his own money to the venture. He achieved a Michelin star at Gleneagles in 2002 and the Newcomer of the Year Catey, placing his new endeavour on the map. In 2005 he was placed front and centre on the world stage when he oversaw the menu at the Scottish resort’s hosting of that year’s G8 meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders.
Gleneagles received a second Michelin star in 2006, making it one of only 11 (at the time) in the UK to hold such an accolade. Fairlie also picked up the prestigious HIT Scotland Industry Award and was named Chefs’ Chef of the Year at the AA awards. In 2008 he was named Scottish Chef of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Restaurant Awards.
Winning the inaugural Roux Scholarship presented Fairlie with a once in a lifetime opportunity that he seized with both hands, but sometimes it has come at great personal cost, including a failed marriage. Diagnosis in January 2005 of a brain tumour after he suffered epileptic fits for the first time resulted in an operation; within months, he had returned to the kitchen, his ability and drive undiminished.
Will there be a third Michelin star at some point? It wouldn’t be beyond him. But irrespective of any such accolade, he will continue to inspire young chefs across the UK through his ongoing role as a judge in the annual Roux Scholarship, now in its 35th year, demonstrating what hard work and natural talent can achieve.
Restaurant Andrew Fairlie joins Les Grandes Tables du Monde >>