Adam Handling wins Scottish Chef of the Year

06 March 2015 by
Adam Handling wins Scottish Chef of the Year

Adam Handling, from Restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton in London, has been named the overall winner of the Scottish Chef of the Year competition.

Handling's win follows a live competition in front of an industry audience at the ScotHot exhibition on 5 March, at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.

Each chef had three and a half hours to present a four-course meal for four covers to a panel of industry judges.

The chefs were judged on each of their courses in order to find a winner for each course, as well as an overall winner.

The results were:

  • Best Intermediate - Robbie Penman, Houston House hotel
  • Best Main Course - Craig Gibb, Orde Food Co
  • Best Dessert - Adam Handling, Restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton

Overall Rankings were:

  • 1st place Gold Award -Adam Handling, Restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton
  • Runner-up Silver Award - Craig Gibb, Orde Food Co
  • Joint 3rd Place - Silver Award - Jamie Scott, Rocca restaurant
  • Joint 3rd Place - Dougal McPherson, New College Lanarkshire

Competitors started with 100% and marks were then deducted by the judges during the judging process. The range needed to obtain a gold medal was 90-100%, silver was 80-89% and bronze was 70-79%.

Commenting on his win, Handling, who last year won the BCF Chef of the Year title, told The Caterer: "The titles I have won so far have been British or English, so to win something that is Scottish is one that I am very proud to have."

The four dishes he cooked were:

  • Salmon, peas, dill
  • Lobster, confited in duck fat, glazed and served with pickled vegetables (a modern interpretation of lobster thermidor)
  • Highland wagyu, burned with a blowtorch and glazed in a Korean bulgogi marinade, served with burned artichokes and cabbage, with spring onion oil
  • Chocolate, orange, caramel dessert

Handling said that he found taking an Escoffier dish and giving it a modern interpretation to be a particularly difficult exercise but that after lots of experimentation, inspiration struck him just days before the competition started.

"Whenever you are about to cook in front of a large audience it is always nerve-wracking. But you are a chef at the end of the day and you don't really realise that there are about 400 people watching you and loads of people taking pictures. You go with the flow and you do what you do," he said.

The judges included: Joe Queen, former president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and executive chef at The Tennent's Training Academy; Stephen McLaughlin, from Scotland's two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles; Ian MacDonald, president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and executive chef at the St Andrews Links Trust; Kevin MacGillivray, previous winner of Scottish Chef of the Year and executive chef at MacDonald Hotels; Bruce Sangster, owner of the Michelin-starred Sangster's in Elie and Scottish culinary team consultant chef; and Willie Pike, organiser of the Scottish Chefs Conference.

Senior competition judge Kevin MacGillivray said: "This has been one of the hardest Chef of the Year awards that we have had to judge in the competition's 36-year history. The depth of talent of the competitors has been incredible this year making the judging process extremely challenging.

"We would like to congratulate all of the competitors for displaying the skills and cooking techniques that made the judge's decision so difficult. In this year of celebration of Scottish food and drink, it is exciting to know that culinary Skills in Scotland have an incredibly bright future."

Adam Handling in competition yesterday.

Scottish Chef of the Year semi-finalists announced >>

Book review: Smile or Get Out of the Kitchen >>

Menuwatch: Adam Handling at Caxton >>

Adam Handling named BCF Chef of the Year 2014 >>

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