l the young dudes

Where will the next generation of leading chefs come from? Donald Reid looks at the emerging talent in professional kitchens across the country.

ndy Murray is an exciting

young tennis talent. He‘s

l‘). AI. Kennedy was named one of (iranta‘s Young British Novelists in 2003. She's 4| this month.

Young means something different to different careers. In the kitchen. you tend to start early. grow up last and burn out easily. Promising young chel's tend to start getting noticed in their mid

20s. If you're a head chef or

running your own place before you turn 30. or even picking up Michelin stars. the big time might

Martin Donnelly I (far right); and | Tom Kitchin

with his sous

chef (left)



beckon. That's Gordon Ramsay and Nick Nairn territory.

Right now. the restaurant scene in Scotland has a promising chel's emerging. Tom Kitchin. a 29-year-old. opened his eponymous restaurant in I.eith this summer following ll) years working in highly decorated restaurants in London and Iiurope. In Glasgow. 28—year-old Martin Donnelly stepped into the role as head chel‘ at Michael (‘aines (0 Abode. with ambitions to bring Michelin stars back to (ilasgow. Head chel' at (‘osmo restaurant in

'0 ~.{

number ol

Iidinburgh is 26-year-old Alex Thain. winner of the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship last year. Down in Duml'ries. 25-year-old

Russell Roberston heads up one of

Scotland‘s most exciting and innovative restaurants. the Linen Room.

The established career path of

most of them. however. has been to head to London or the continent to pick up experience alongside top diets. The implication is that

Scotland isn't exactly a hotbed of

gastronomic brilliance. The bleak reality is something many in the restaurant trade acknowledge. ‘There's a big skills gap missing in chefs in Scotland at the

moment.‘ says Michelin star holder Martin Wishart. chel‘ and proprietor of Restaurant Martin Wishart in I.eith. ‘They‘re leaving getting jobs in they

college. or

restaurants. but don‘t

,r‘. Young chets .1; taking part in the i .Scottish Food Scholarship programme

understand good ingredients. They don't have the basics.~

According to Tom ls'itchin. ‘The general mentality til a lot ol guys at 2| is. "I know how to shout. swear and run a kitchen. I‘m a chel‘ now".' Martin Donnelly is similarly struck. ‘I have had dil'liculty sourcing chel‘s.‘ he says. ‘There‘s no pool to source from So much ol‘ catering is about quick l'ood. l'ood in bags which ol'l'er easy prolit.'

However. Donnelly is t'ull oi praise for the attitude ol top Scottish cllclis. such as Andrew liairlie and Martin Wishart. 'I



learned from good chet's down south. I think that it's now possible to do that in Scotland.‘ he says. 'The high prolile chefs in Scotland are very good at making themselves accessible. For promising young chet's that's really important.‘

Wishart is one of the principal movers behind the Scottish Food Scholarship. which was launched last year to encourage and develop the culinary skills and talents of young chefs in Scotland. Entrants show off their skills at a series of regional cook offs and are judged

5-19 Oct 2006 THE LIST 97