Dave Myers’ hair is scraped back immaculately off his face while Si King pulls his fingers through his wavy locks when we get the chance to speak on Zoom.
The duo, who are also known as The Hairy Bikers, are heading to Taste of Grampian this June and tell me how incredibly enthusiastic they are feeling about the trip north.
It has been a while since they sampled the north-east’s food scene and they are hungry to return, reminiscing of fond memories of grabbing a chipper from The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven every time they venture north.
Dave spent the most part of 15 years living in Huntly so is well versed with the region’s offering.
“On the way up we always used to stop at the chip shop in Stonehaven. That was really quite posh as it was the first chip shop I’d got garlic mushrooms from.
“The fish and chips was so good. It is very nicely placed on the road as it is about 30 minutes to Aberdeen. So by the time you got to Huntly it was very convenient.
“The chip shop in Inverurie was good, too. I remember we went in and ordered two haggis puddings, a white pudding, large haddock and chips and two Diet Cokes. I remember they looked at us funny because of the Diet Coke.”
Si laughed: “We didn’t want to tip the scales!”
The Hairy Bikers love of whisky
It isn’t just a chipper the duo enjoy when they visit.
They are both partial to a dram or two and spent many a night in the former The Old Pit in Huntly when Dave lived there and the duo worked in the area.
He said: “I’m partial to a Glen Dronach and Glenfiddich – the softer ones. Speyside whiskies are very special and Si likes Bunnahabhain which is an Islay.
“There was a pub in Huntly opposite from where I lived – 15 metres from the house – called The Old Pit. It had 75 malt whiskies on optics. They called it The Gantry Club. If you managed to have one off of every optic you got this free polo shirt. I never got the polo shirt but it was just formidable the amount of whisky they had.”
He recalls receiving phone calls from the landlord Jockey, who would ring Dave up if his friends were at the pub and he wasn’t – no matter the time.
“I remember one time he called me saying ‘Davey, yer hame’ at 2am and he was telling me all of my pals were in the pub. I think I’d move back there if my wife would tolerate the weather.”
Reminiscing about the multiple hills and mountains they have conquered together, food and drink always had a place during every excursion.
Ben Rinnes in Speyside is one they frequented a lot. The duo usually climbed it kitted out with their biking gear.
“When it was snowing we’d climb it and take two cans of soup and a little stove. We were on the top of it with our soup and in our biking gear and these mountaineers came in their full outfits and they just looked at us like we were insane,” said Dave.
“We really shouldn’t have done that, but I knew the hill quite well.”
Si added: “A few times when we went up the hills we’d bring a hip flask and have a few drams on the way up. We’d be quite hungry by the top. It was mint.”
Live demonstrations at Taste of Grampian
Looking forward to a day full of cooking on June 4 at P&J Live in Dyce, Aberdeen for Scotland’s biggest food and drink festival, the duo are chomping at the bit to get in front of a live audience again.
The coronavirus pandemic brought tours and shows to a halt, meaning the chefs haven’t had the chance to engage with their fans face-to-face for a while.
“We love it as it goes back to the essence and core of what we do – two mates on stage doing what we love and having some craick and a laugh,” said Si.
“It is really inclusive and people love it. People shout out and it is a lot of fun. Getting to meet people is very energising. You get a buzz back from an audience.”
Dave added: “We care about the food, so we’ll need to think about what we’re going to cook. It will be summery and a bit of a surprise. We’ll try and use the local produce there and do something interesting.
“From the Scotch pies to the Clootie Dumplings, there’s so much traditional food. I’m interested to find out what the younger local chefs are doing with that food heritage.”
Taste of Grampian takes place on Saturday June 4 at P&J Live in Dyce, Aberdeen.
Tickets for the festival are priced at £13.50 and can be purchased here.