Ross Sutherland, head chef at the Cross Restaurant with Rooms in Kingussie, has been named the 2012 Young Highland Chef of the Year, the Scottish cookery competition run by Albert Roux.
Sutherland beat four other finalists to win the title at a cook-off held at Burghfield House, a training hotel run by North Highland College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, on Monday.
The finalists had two-and-a-half hours to cook a three-course menu consisting of a seafood starter, a game main course and a dessert of apple or pear.
Sutherland's winning menu comprised salmon tortellini with pea and watercress velouté and lemon oil; roasted squab pigeon with mini pithivier, fondant potato and beetroot and blackberry jus; and apple tarte tatin with salt caramel and barley ice-cream.
As the winner Sutherland has been awarded £500 in cash as well as a week's stage at the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in London, run by Albert Roux's son Michel Roux Jnr, including travel and accommodation.
Albert Roux said Sutherland's technical ability set him apart from the other competitors. "His menu showed the most skill and his dishes were the most flavoursome," he said.
Sutherland added: "I'm over the moon. I entered the competition two years ago and it's so good to have come back and won it. It's great to have the association with Albert Roux and I can't wait to do my stage at Le Gavroche."
The final was judged by Albert Roux, Glen Watson, Andrew Fairlie, Steven Doherty, Brian Maule, Derek Johnstone and Philip Corrick.
The runner-up was Thomas Marshall, sous chef at the Boath House in Aldearn, who has won a week's stage at the RAC Club in London. Third place went to Matthew Lobban, demi chef de partie at Lovat Loch Ness.
The Young Highland Chef of the Year, which is run in association with Caterer and Hotelkeeper, is open to Scottish chefs aged 18 to 30.
Pictured, left to right: David Whiteford, chairman of the North Highland Initiative, Albert Roux and Ross Sutherland
By Kerstin Kühn
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