Scotland's only two-Michelin-starred chef, Andrew Fairlie, last week became the latest addition in the UK to the ranks of Grands Chefs du Monde recognised by luxury hotel consortium Relais & Chateaux. He talks to Kerstin Kühn
You're only the seventh chef in the UK - and the third independent operator - to have been awarded the Relais Chateaux Grand Chef title. How do you feel? I was extremely proud to have been accepted, and receiving my award in front of 500 Relais & Chateaux proprietors including Michel Guérard, Michel Troisgros and Olivier Roellinger was a very special moment.
What does the award mean to you? It means a great deal to me to be accepted into Relais & Chateaux as it has been an ambition of mine for many years. I first heard of the guide in 1985 when I was working at the Waterside Inn just before I was due to start my stage with Michel Guérard [after winning the inaugural Roux Scholarship in 1984]. The guide was full of the greatest chefs in the world and as a young 20-year-old I dreamt that one day I would be included.
How many Grands Chefs du Monde are there? There are now 511 Relais & Chateaux properties in the world [31 in the UK] and 160 Grands Chefs working in those properties but only 70 independent restaurants. In the UK there are six others: Alain Roux, Michel Roux Jnr, Michael Caines, Raymond Blanc, Heston Blumenthal and Martin Burge.
What do you think this will do for your business? The list of Grands Chefs is a Who's Who of all the greatest chefs in the world from the USA to China. I expect it will help my business tremendously, especially with the luxury American market. It will also help attract staff from all over the world as Relais & Chateaux has its own recruitment site on the web.
How will you be promoted in the guide? I have my own restaurant page within the guide with a very brief biog and a description of the restaurant. But probably more important will be the promotion on the Relais & Chateaux website. We can now display the Fleur du Lys on our website and it really is a stamp of excellence which I'm very proud to be part of.