Tell us a bit about how you got into food?
I’m very lucky I inherited it! I’m a third generation Italian Scots cook. My mother and both my grandmothers were cooks in their family businesses. I’m just following in their footsteps with a love of feeding people fresh food.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Keep it simple. Buy the best you can and let the ingredients tell the story.
Why is Scottish produce so important to you?
It’s world class. Our seafood, shellfish, game, meat, berries, dairy, foraged foods, are the best you can get. It’s so good the vast majority of these ingredients are exported. We have them so we need to value them and be the first to share them with our families, our friends and of course our customers.
Have you discovered any interesting and innovative products lately?
Scottish Juniper Berries have just been added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste. In the past it’s not been an ingredient that I’ve used (except perhaps in my gin by accident!). Indigenous ingredients are always the most exciting.
If you were abandoned on a desert island and could only take one Scottish product, what would it be and why?
I’ve been asked this before and always say an Amalfi lemon to enjoy with all the fish. But for a Scottish product, it would have to be a lobster. Warm water lobsters aren’t half as good as our cold water beauties.
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Pan-fried halibut with chanterelles
2 x 200g halibut steaks, bone in
Plain flour, for dusting
Light olive oil, for frying
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 dried red chilli
A small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 wedges of unwaxed lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Wash and dry the halibut with kitchen paper and set aside. Sieve some flour onto a large plate and season with a little salt. Put at least 5mm of light olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Dip the halibut in the flour to coat it lightly on all sides. Shake off any loose flour and gently place the fish in the hot oil. When the oil is hot, the halibut should sizzle but the oil should not spark.
- Very gently move the halibut in the pan to prevent it from sticking. Fry for about three minutes, depending on the thickness. The underside should be golden but not brown. Very carefully turn the fish over and continue cooking. It will be cooked when you can easily remove the flesh from the central bone.
- Remove the halibut from the pan, place it on a baking tray and keep it warm in the preheated oven while you fry the chanterelles. Ensure all the chanterelles are clean. Use a sharp knife to scrape off any moss or earth, then gently wipe them with a damp kitchen cloth. Don’t wash them, as this will make them too wet and they will go mushy when cooked.
- Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and crush in the chilli. Fry for a few minutes to release the flavours but don’t let the garlic brown. Add the chanterelles and increase the heat. Fry very quickly, keeping the pan moving so they cook evenly. Season with salt and add the parsley. Cook for another few seconds until the chanterelles are al dente.
- Serve hot with the pan-fried halibut, a few salad leaves and a big wedge of lemon.