Two rosettes within months of opening his 63 Tay Street restaurant in Perth showed Graeme Pallister he was on the right track.
His dedication to local and honest food has won over diners ever since and has now taken him to the pinnacle of the industry, with the title of 2017 Scottish Restaurant of the Year.
Graeme joined his wife Fiona on stage at the Scottish Food Awards, watched by many of his peers.
They had already seen the chef and his team collect the title of Perth’s top restaurant – one of a number of awards claimed by Tayside destinations on a night of stunning success for the region.
Dundee was particularly well represented with Castlehill and the Tayberry each taking home two prizes.
Graeme admitted it had come as a “wonderful surprise” to find out that 63 Tay Street was to be the recipient of the night’s biggest award.
He said: “I was delighted for the team when we won best restaurant in Perth earlier in the evening but to win Scottish restaurant of the year was a complete surprise.
“My wife Fiona and I were in compete shock and it took a few seconds to register we had won. I am so very happy for all of our team and regular customers as without them we would be in no position to receive such an honour.”
Castlehill Restaurant was named Dundee Restaurant of the Year and City Restaurant Champion, while the city’s Bridgeview Station was named Bistro of the Year.
The title of Fife Restaurant of the Year was awarded to The Cellar at Anstruther, while Perthshire Restaurant of the Year went to The Rooftop Restaurant at Knock Castle, Crieff.
The Grange Inn was named St Andrews Restaurant of the Year.
For those looking to take away rather than dine-in, the awards gave a hearty recommendation to Auchterarder’s Corbie and Cheip, which was named Deli of the Year.
The business opened in 2015 on the town’s High Street and has proved a real hit, offering top produce from small-scale producers – both local and international – as well as fine coffees and fine wines.
Breakfast Destination 2017: Mhor84 Hotel, Lochearnhead and the Craigmhor Lodge, Pitlochry.
Fast Real Food Destination: Real Foods Café, Tyndrum.
Bar Food Destination: Fisherman’s Bar, East Haugh Hotel, Pitlochry.
Bistro of the Year: Bridgeview Station Restaurant, Dundee.
New Bar of the Year: The Fifty-Five Bar and Grill, The Royal Hotel Bridge of Allan.
Deli of the Year: Corbie and Cheip, Auchterarder.
Gold Medal Award – Game: East Haugh Country House, Pitlochry.
Gold Medal Award – Ethical: The Atholl Arms, Dunkeld.
Gold Medal Award – Cake: KitschnBake, Newport on Tay.
Hospitality Award: Killiecrankie Hotel, by Pitlochry.
Flavours of Scotland Medal: Tayberry Restaurant, Broughty Ferry.
The Flavours of Scotland Award: The Cellar, Anstruther.
Hotel/B&B Food and Drink Awards: Balbirnie House Hotel, Markinch, Fife.
Fife Restaurant of the Year: The Cellar, Anstruther.
Perthshire Restaurant of the Year: The Rooftop Restaurant at Knock Castle, Crieff.
Dundee Restaurant of the Year: Castlehill Restaurant.
Perth Restaurant of the Year: 63 Tay Street.
St Andrews Restaurant of the Year: The Grange Inn.
The City Restaurant Champion: Castlehill Restaurant.
Contemporary Restaurant of the Year: The Tayberry, Broughty Ferry.
Restaurant of the Year 2017: 63 Tay Street, Perth.