With the town of St Andrews bustling with visitors for graduations and preparations for next month’s Open Championship, a group of local chefs were taking time out to start planning for another highlight on the Courier Country calendar – The Menu Food and Drinks Awards.
As is fitting for a celebration of all things foodie in Fife and Tayside, the awards ceremony will take place at The Old Course Hotel on Thursday October 6, with the evening centred around a five-course menu created by some of the region’s top chefs.
Three of those chefs got together at the hotel on Wednesday (June 22) to put the first stages of planning that menu in motion and they were all delighted to share their passion for the thriving local food scene and for cooking with produce from Fife, Perthshire and Angus.
Martin Hollis, executive chef, The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews has been involved in the Menu Awards since their inception and is delighted to be hosting the event once more.
Martin will be overseeing the menu choices to ensure that the celebration meal flows perfectly from course to course.
He is also a committed champion of food from local suppliers. “The awards are a chance to highlight the hidden gems, to bring a lot of people and their produce out into the open,” he says.
Praveen Kumar, chef owner at Tabla Indian Restaurant, Perth has also been involved in awards for several years.
“I am excited about the opportunity to join in a celebration of local produce,” enthuses the chef.
“For me personally, it is also a showcase of different food cultures. We source our lamb from just outside Dundee, grow herbs and vegetables locally and we have 50-60 kilos of spices sent each month from my parents in India.”
New talent taking part
New to the awards this year is Derek Johnstone, head chef at 18, the flagship restaurant of the newly refurbished Rusacks Hotel.
Derek is delighted to be part of the team of esteemed chefs who will be showcasing some fantastic local food.
“All of Fife is full of inspiring produce,” he explains, “from the shellfish and lobster from St Andrews Bay to the local berries and beef farmers, we are blessed with the food that is right on our doorstep.”
Ian Syme has recently returned to the Fairmont St Andrews to take up the role of executive chef. He says; “I am delighted to be involved in the Menu Awards 2022, and I’m so looking forward to celebrating the best of food and drink in Fife and Tayside at such a crucial time for the hospitality industry.
“Sustainability is at the core of my cooking, and I believe that the best dishes, more often than not, utilise ingredients found right on our doorstep.”
Dean Banks, Chef/Owner of Haar Restaurant will also be showing off his culinary skills with his contribution to the awards night menu.
The awards celebrate the best of food and drink in the Tayside, Fife and Angus area and highlight those in the hospitality sector who are pushing boundaries and leading the way in excellence.
Watch this space for new on which chef will be creating which course for the awards dinner.
For more information on the Menu Awards and to enter visit www.themenufoodanddrinkawards.co.uk
Entries close on Sunday July 10.