Seafood Seasonal update - June 2018

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th June 2018


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Seasonality fosters creativity in the kitchen

Chef Scott Davies with Turbot low res
Chef Scott Davies shows off stunning Scottish turbot

Scott Davies won’t hear of the challenges of living on an island when it comes to being a top chef.

“There are no challenges in sourcing,” he insists. “In fact, the abundance of local produce means you can change the menu according to what’s available on any given day. It advances creativity and keeps things interesting – the clear provenance of our ingredients is top priority.”

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Davies has been head chef at the Three Chimneys at Colbost, Skye, for three years, and is only the third head chef in the restaurant’s 33-year history.

Under his stewardship it was given the Editor’s Award for Restaurant of the Year in the 2018 Good Food Guide, and scooped the AA Food Service Award 2017-2018 in recognition of its excellent standards of restaurant service – “beating even The Ritz”, he says proudly.

Last year, he served 22,000 guests and in June this year, 581 lunch guests and a staggering 1346 diners. He expects that to increase during the busy summer months.

As a guest chef at the Skye Food and Drink festival, chef Scott cooked a 6.5kg North Sea turbot supplied by Coast & Glen, explaining that while world-class shellfish are abundant, and local mackerel was just coming on, whitefish are not available in the waters off the famous Hebridean “Misty Isle”. Peterhead market is a go-to source of demersal and pelagic fish.

In the sold-out event, he demonstrated how to fillet a turbot, even getting the cheeks, and explained that his restaurant’s ethos was to use every part of the fish (or animal).

The large skeleton would be used for stock and the skin roasted for garnish. His dish of pan-fried turbot with oyster and summer beans was a picture.

A second dish of seafood with a lemon verbena dashi broth demonstrated the quality and freshness of local shellfish.

Sconser twice-dived scallops took pride of place, with chef declaring he knows of no other place in the world where it’s possible to source such wonders of the sea. 

Meet the Next Generation

Scallops low res
Wonders of the Scottish sea

Kirsty George, general manager of the Luss Smokehouse, has witnessed a huge increase in business since joining the business, on the banks of Loch Lomond, two years ago. The 26 year old says: “We’re working at at full throttle. Last year we achieved a four-fold increase and we’re on track to double that again this year.”

To meet growing demand - especially for the smokehouse’s top-seller, beech-smoked trout – a larger shop has opened in the form of a log cabin on the shores of the famous loch.

“The smoked trout is our baby product, and is now selling like-for-like with our smoked salmon,” she says. Sourced from the West Coast of Scotland and smoked in-house in beechwood shavings to give it a sweeter flavour than that achieved with oak wood, the trout – as well as smoked mussels and smoked salmon - will soon be joined by a brand new product: smoked mackerel pate.

“It’s made to our own special recipe, a fine balance of the brine, size of the fish, and the time it’s marinated,” she says somewhat cryptically. Made with Scottish mackerel frozen at sea, it will be available all year round. Kirsty’s excitement about the imminent launch is palpable.

“Beech smoking negates the need for added sugar, which is a hot topic right now so I reckon we’re bang on trend,” she says.

Mackerel   Luss Smokehouse low res

Scottish mackerel is rich

and earthy

in flavour – ideal for smoking

The beech-smoked mussels are also gaining in popularity with chefs, as the rapeseed oil they’re packed in can be used in cooking. The mussels are used for paellas, pastas and risottos as well as having as canapes with a glass of wine.

Kirsty, who was born in Fife, studied International Business at Edinburgh University and now lives in Glasgow’s West End, began her career with Stockans Oatcakes in Edinburgh. She then spent 18 months with Scotland Food and Drink working on its Ambition 2030 strategy before joining Luss Smokehouse in 2016. 

“I work long hours but I don’t think there’s another job that involves you so much in every aspect of the business,” she says. “I’m constantly learning new things, from food safety to how to get the best out of the kiln.” 

Article written by Cate Devine, Scottish based food writer @CateDvineWriter (

Species in Season

King Scallop Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Pollack Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Herring Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

Catfish Seafood Species Descriptor Graphic low res

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th June 2018

Seafood Seasonal update - June 2018