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Finalists announced for first Andrew Fairlie Scholarship in memory of Gleneagles chef

Chef Andrew Fairlie.
Chef Andrew Fairlie.

Six up-and-coming chefs from across Scotland will compete in the first Andrew Fairlie Scholarship contest.

Fairlie, a two Michelin-starred chef and head of his self-titled restaurant at Gleneagles, died after a long illness in January.

The scholarship was announced by the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland in recognition of his “significant and lasting contribution to the hospitality industry.”

Now a shortlist of finalists has been hand-picked by an expert panel of top UK chefs.

Abbie Clunie

They include 23-year-old Abbie Clunie, from Fife, who works as a Chef de Partie (CDP) at Craig Millar @ 16 West End in Anstruther.

Peter Meechan

The youngest competitor is 22-year-old Peter Meechan, who is working as a CDP at the Strathearn Restaurant in Gleneagles.

Also in the running is Emma-Rose Milligan, 23, from Kilmarnock, Jack Hassall, 25, from Edinburgh, Joseph Harte, 23, from Aberdeenshire and 27-year-old Ryan McCutcheon who is also from Edinburgh.

The scholarship will recognise two outstanding individuals – one male and one female – who are forging ahead with their culinary career, working in Scotland.

The winners will gain industry-wide recognition and experience cooking in an international kitchen, a placement at the Culinary Institute of America and at Andrew’s restaurant in Gleneagles.

Lead judge Stephen McLaughlin, head chef at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, said: “It was fantastic to see so many chefs in Scotland with such an obvious passion for food and an appetite for learning.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, however the final six are all there on merit.

“They were selected for their understanding of the ethos of Andrew’s culinary traditions, the essence of this included how they talked about themselves and their culinary ambitions, and how they created their menu.”

The final stage of the competition will take place on October 24 at Gleneagles, where each of the finalists’ skills will be put to the test.

Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean, who is also a judge, said: “The next stage of the competition will give the judges a greater understanding of the finalists’ skills and dedication to culinary excellence.

“As well as their technical abilities and creativity, we will also find out about their drive and why winning would mean so much to them and their career.

“The standard is high and we’re looking forward to hearing more from this talented group of young chefs.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is backing the scholarship, added: “Andrew Fairlie did so much in his life and career to encourage the next generation of world class chefs in Scotland.

“I am delighted that so many young chefs want to be among the first to benefit and I congratulate each of the six finalists who have reached the shortlist.”

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