The Staff Canteen Live 2020 Chef Networking Lunch at Fhior

The Staff Canteen

It's been a while since we've taken our Chef Networking Lunch to Scotland and what better place to host it than Scott Smith's Fhior in Edinburgh.

Gusbourne Rosé 2015


Cumbrae Oysters, Fermented Cucumber, Apple with Koppert cress Blinq Blossom and Borage cress

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2014

Bonnet Cheese & Peasemeal Croquettes, Leek Emulsion with Koppert Cress Scarlett Cress 

Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015

Sika Deer Ham Cured Black Cod, Pickled Kohlrabi, Rock Chive with Vene Cress from Koppert cress 

Crab, Charred Leeks, Hazelnuts 
with Koppert Cress Tahoon Cress & Kikuna leaves 

Gusbourne Guinevere 2017

Steamed Black Cod, Fermented Swede, Pepper Dulse Carrot, Crowdie, Parsley 
with Koppert Cress Persinette Cress and Bean Blossom 

QMS Scotch Beef, Cabbage, Seaweed, Bottarga Koppert Cress Gangnam tops and shiso purple 

Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2018

Jerusalem Artichoke, White Chocolate, Sea Buckthorn

Scott opened Fhior in 2018 after leaving Norn and the restaurant has gone from strength to strength. He welcomed 17 of Scotland's best chefs as part of The Staff Canteen Chef Networking Lunch and they included:

Neil Hudson, Clachan Grill; Ross Cochrane, The Rothesay Rooms; Rory Lovie, Bridgeview Station; Helen Vass, Pastry Chef; Brian Grigor, Chez Roux Group; David Millar, CH+co; Jamie Scott, The Newport; Garry Watson, Gordon's Restaurant; Owen Morrice, No1 The Grange; Dan Ashmore, Gleneagles; Sammie Roach, Malmaison Edinburgh; Spiros Katridis, Condita; Barry Gamble, Angels Share Hotel; Stuart Ralston, Aizle; Calum Montgomery, Edinbane Lodge and Craig Millar, Craig Millar @ 16 West End.

After enjoying a glass of Gusbourne Rose 2015, chefs were given canapes and a glass of Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2015 plus a tour of the kitchen, before sitting down for a five-course tasting menu devised in-house at Fhior, using ingredients from the food suppliers backing the event.  

What the chefs had to say

Sammie Roach, head chef at Malmaison said: “Today was about connecting with some excellent chefs, seeing what other people are doing, talking about struggles we have within the industry and how we deal with them.”

She said the black cod was a standout dish and added: “The suppliers were really good, I liked the way we circulated throughout the meal, meeting different suppliers, food suppliers, chemical suppliers, it was good to interact and see what other people are offering and bringing to the table.”

Barry Gamble, head chef, Angels Share hotel said the lunch was about 'meeting like minded people'.

He said: “It’s important that we communicate with each other, chefs, outside the kitchen. Social media is a big help with that but there’s nothing like sitting down with somebody face to face outside the kitchen, outside the pressures of work and just to chat with them. See what’s happening.”

With regards to the format of the lunches and meeting suppliers in an informal setting, he said: “It’s always easier for a chef if it’s not a cold call on your doorstep when you’re in the middle of doing some prep for a big function so it’s a bit more relaxed, you get a chance to speak to them. Sometimes it’s a bit difficult because we may not be able to buy from them because we’re tied into contracts so we might not have the opportunity to purchase from them but it’s nice to speak to people and understand what they’re doing. It might not be just now but a couple of months down the line, you may well pick up the phone and say: ‘I met you at The Staff Canteen networking lunch, we want to order a dishwasher or start ordering some Koppert Cress, or whatever it is.’”

This was Ross Cochrane's first networking lunch with The Staff Canteen, he is the head chef at The Rothesay Rooms and said: "It's been more than I expected! All the chefs are names I've wanted to meet and eat at their restaurants too and the suppliers were great, particularly the wine supplier as we are in the middle of changing our wine offering."

He added: "This is the best way to meet suppliers because you are trying their products but they are not trying to sell it to you. It is coming from a kitchen, it's cooked to a really good standard and you can see how good that product can be."

The Staff Canteen Live Networking Lunch Sponsors

Our headline sponsor for this event was hospitality industry uniform specialist Chef Works, joined by Zenith Hygiene, Koppert Cress, Gusbourne, Quality Meat Scotland, Winterhalter and Alaska Seafood

Simon Vost, Business Development Manager for Chef Works, said: "I've dealt with chefs a lot over the years, and you go to exhibitions or events and you don't get that personal interaction and social aspect you get at an event like this. It's more informal and relaxed so you get to talk to the chefs and find out who they are. 

"You can get your message across because you can get it involved in a conversation. It's not hard sell, it allows you to communicate with chefs and that at the end of the day is what we all want to do. It breaks down the barriers and it's not often you can sit down with fifteen or more, key, influential chefs."

Claire Higgs is PR Manager for Quality Meat Scotland, she said: "We've had a great day to day showcasing Scottish Beef to some of Scotland's top chefs. These events are always fantastic because you get to sit down and talk about your product while you are eating it which is very helpful when you are explaining all the benefits of Scottish Beef. 

"In this kind of setting you can have a proper conversation with all the chefs and get their true perceptions of the brand and how they feel about it and what QMS are doing to promote themselves to chefs."

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th February 2020

The Staff Canteen Live 2020 Chef Networking Lunch at Fhior