Scotland’s top chefs take to the stage at The Staff Canteen Live 2023 at ScotHot

Alex South

Alex South


The Staff Canteen returned to Scotland for this year’s instalment of ScotHot, bringing with them some of the best Scottish chefs and showcasing the diverse range of Scotland’s produce.

Day one of ScotHot 2023, saw four leading chefs attract crowds of attendees whilst delivering stunning plates of food for the audience to try.

From scallops to sushi to foraged good, some Scotland’s finest chefs excited and dazzled audiences with a varied line-up of dishes, displaying kitchen mastery and cutting-edge techniques.

Graeme Cheevers, Chef Patron of Michelin-starred Unalome,
takes to the stage!

First up was Graeme Cheevers, Chef Patron of Michelin-starred Unalome, who presented roasted Orkney scallop, with cauliflower, finger lime and smoked mussel sauce.

Commenting on day one, Graeme said: “It’s been great. It’s good to see The Staff Canteen back at ScotHot after all the years. It’s been exciting and I’m glad to be first on stage. I like doing demonstrations to benefit the restaurant and also for my team, it gives the younger guys something to aim for that’s different from their daily job.”

Graeme's Orkney scallop, with cauliflower, finger lime
and smoked mussel sauce

Discussing the reasoning behind his dishes, Graeme said: “I try and do something that’s styled by the restaurant but also for students, home cooks and people in the industry can do as well.”

Talking about the format of the event and working with The Staff Canteen, Graeme said: “I think The Staff Canteen Live is great. It gives you access to chefs that you probably wouldn’t have access before this and gain more knowledge from people you might not follow or watch before this event. I would highly recommend interacting with The Staff Canteen on social media and the app. It’s benefitted my career and opened a lot of doors.”

Kaori Simpson, Chef Owner of Harajuku Kitchen
showcases Japanese cuisine to the audience

Next up was Kaori Simpson, Chef Owner of Harajuku Kitchen, who cooked some fantastic gyoza and Japanese sushi rolls to the live audience.

Commenting on how she found the demonstration, Kaori said: “I really enjoyed it, it was really good to make sushi and gyoza in front of people who are interested in Japanese cuisine.”

Kaori's incredible sushi rolls

Highlighting the amazing produce Scotland has on offer, Kaori added: “We have been promoting Scottish salmon and how good Scottish seafood is. We are very lucky to be in Scotland because we don’t have to buy any fish outside of Scotland.”

Explaining why the demonstrations are so appealing to attendees, she said: “There’s so many opportunities to come and have questions answered and see the knife skills on show, it’s all about learning everything from scratch in front of you on the live stage.”

Paul Wedgwood, Chef Owner of
Wedgwood the Restaurant, presents his 'Sting in Spring'

Next up was Paul Wedgwood, Chef Owner of Wedgwood the Restaurant, who presented his foraged ‘Sting in Spring’ dish to the audience.

Discussing the dish, Paul explained: “We made a cheese from stinging nettle rennet, we added three cornered leek and wrapped it with jack by the hedge leaves, put that in a bowl with the whey from the cheese we collected and seasoned with just a little bit of salt, split that with cleaver oil, decorated it with some scarlet elfcup mushrooms and finely diced peppers that had been seasoned with dehydrated wild garlic.”

Paul Wedgwood's 'Sting in Spring'

Describing how he found the demonstration, Paul said: “This is my first demo at ScotHot and it’s been so much fun.”

Talking about the importance of these events, Paul added: “I’ve picked up a couple of some of the great chefs to work for me at events like this, so students that have been working here. I think these events are really good so they can see and get used to what’s going to happen to them because it’s part of our jobs these days.”

Concluding day’s one demonstrations was Calum Montgomery, Chef Owner of Edinbane Lodge, who wowed with his hand dived scallop with smoked seaweed butter sauce.

Calum Montgomery, Chef Owner of Edinbane Lodge,
presents his hand dived scallop with smoked seaweed butter sauce

Despite it being his first demonstration with The Staff Canteen, Calum said: "It was great. I thought it was going to be stressful doing a soufflé in front of so many people but it's probably the best setup I've had for a demo. Good communication beforehand, and everybody helping out, great students helping out that are enthusiastic about cooking, and about learning hospitality, so I couldn't have asked for it go better."

Explaining what he liked about The Staff Canteen Live, Calum explained: “I’ve taken tips and tricks off seeing rosetted chefs, starred chefs, two-star chefs on The Staff Canteen Live before, and they pass away tasters. I think it's absolutely essential that people see it first-hand because they've got the opportunity to communicate with the chefs and ask them what's on their mind, whether it's towards their future careers or their current careers as well.”

Calum's hand dived scallop
with smoked seaweed butter sauce.

He added: “The Staff Canteen is the best networking platform for chefs or any hospitality workers. I think it's absolutely essential that everybody subscribes to The Staff Canteen and makes the most of it because there's so much you can get; there's so much content, there's recipes, there's podcasts, there's demonstrations. So, if you're struggling to find how to do something, it's probably your best source for it."

The Staff Canteen Live could not happen without all of our great sponsors: Rational, Meiko UK, Nyetimber, Sodiaal UK.

We also couldn’t do it without the brilliant students from City of Glasgow College.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 8th March 2023

Scotland’s top chefs take to the stage at The Staff Canteen Live 2023 at ScotHot