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Michelin-starred chef on board as The Glenturret prepares to open Lalique Restaurant within distillery

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A tattie scone with a difference and creations combining whisky and chocolate will feature on the menu at Lalique, a brand new fine dining restaurant within Crieff’s The Glenturret.

Critically-acclaimed Scottish chef Mark Donald has been appointed head chef at Lalique Restaurant, due to open at The Glenturret this summer.

Mark is joining The Glenturret from his position at Number 1 at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, where he retained the Michelin Star until he departed earlier this year.

The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant, located in the heart of Scotland’s oldest working distillery, will be the first of its kind, as no other whisky brands are currently home to a restaurant dedicated to fine dining.

Chef Mark Donald is excited about the opportunity at Lalique.

The menu will showcase contemporary Scottish culinary innovation, which builds on a foundation of classic French gastronomy and will focus on local terroir and produce.

The restaurant will join Lalique’s hospitality establishments including Villa René Lalique, the 2-star Michelin restaurant and hotel based in Alsace and Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, the 1-star Michelin restaurant and hotel near Bordeaux.

The menu, as you would imagine, will be inventive, and will include many ingredients found in or near the distillery.

Mark’s signature playfulness can be found in dishes like tattie scone – which is a leavened potato bread elevated with Oscietra caviar, egg yolk “jam”, Iberico pork and tiny bittercress flowers that are found growing around the distillery.

Sourdough breads will be made daily with malted barley from the distillery and house-cultured butter.

Tattie scone Oscietra with bittercress flowers.

Chocolate and whisky combos

Members of the dedicated pastry team are experimenting with chocolate and Glenturret malt whisky combinations, like the 10 Year Old Peat Smoked Glenturret married with salted caramel and 64% Felchlin Swiss chocolate.

And Mark and his team are working with the distillery on a process of extracting complex malted barley flavour which will – for example – feature in a splendid Maracaibo cake for afternoon teas.

Sense of place is also very important, with the kitchen team busy foraging along the Turret river bank and nearby woodland.

Mark said: “Distillery manager Ian Renwick knows where all the best mushrooms are to be found – he just hasn’t told us yet!”

The Glenturret Distillery.

Speaking about his appointment, Mark, who has been nominated in the 2021 Best Chef Awards, added: “I’m very excited to be part of this unique and exciting culinary experience. The distillery has a long-standing history and great heritage – as does Lalique – so it was an exciting task to combine this with fresh, innovative ideas.

“Working closely with the local producers and suppliers has been wonderful so far; together with my team, I feel we have managed to create a contemporary, thought-provoking menu wrapped in the genuine Scottish hospitality for which The Glenturret is renowned.”

The Glenturret 10 Year Old with Maracaibo chocolates.

Global cuisine

Mark’s passion for cooking began in Glasgow where he spent time in the kitchen at Stravaigin, one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Here, he was exposed to a world of exciting flavours thanks to their unique approach to global cuisine.

Since then, he has gone on to build impeccable culinary credentials that include a formative season at Noma, at a time when it was number one on the World’s Best Restaurant list, followed by two years at the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.

He then moved to London, accepting a senior role at two Michelin-starred Hibiscus, before travelling to Sydney, Australia, where he spent four years as head chef at progressive restaurant, Bentley.

He came home to Scotland in 2018 when he took over the kitchen at Number 1 at The Balmoral and retained their Michelin-starred rating until his departure.

“Exceptional knowledge”

John Laurie, The Glenturret’s managing director, added: “We are thrilled to have Mark join The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant.

“Not only are his humble and charismatic attitude a perfect fit for our close-knit team here at The Glenturret; his exceptional knowledge of Scottish produce combined with his creativity will perfectly complement both the heritage of where we have come from, and the new direction in which we are going with the restaurant.”

John Laurie.

More food and drink news…

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‘There’s no automation, no big volumes, only simple distilling tasks completed by hand in their own good time’: The whisky range from Crieff that’s been 250 years in the making

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