The heat is on

Scotland’s rising culinary stars are preparing for the live battle to lift the crown of the Federation of Chefs Scotland’s Scottish Chef of the Year. Eight finalists will compete for the coveted prize at the ScotHot Exhibition at the SECC in Glasgow on 5 March. The 30th Scottish Culinary Championships challenges chefs to create show-stopping food sculptures as well as being judged in a live cook-off on the main stage. The Scottish Chef of the Year is the only Scottish competition where all eight finalists compete in front of an audience of their peers. The judging process involves scrutiny of the chefs throughout preparation of their four-course menu. It’s tough: every piece of food coming into the kitchen is checked and the judges are present in the kitchen throughout the competition.

The finalists represent a breadth of talent from education, the armed forces and some of Scotland’s most prestigious venues and companies. The finalists include Masterchef: The Professionals winner, Jamie Scott, from Rocca Restaurant in St Andrews and previous MC:P finalist Adam Handling of Restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton. The others are Andrew Laycock, of Wilde Thyme, the Comrie-based luxury food and event caterers; Craig Gibb of Orde Food Co; Robbie Penman of Houston House Hotel; Alex Thain of Cromlix House; Zoltan Szabo of Cameron House Hotel; and Dougal McPherson of New College Lanarkshire. Making a complete meal of it, the UK Barista Championship also takes place at ScotHot. It tests competitors on their coffee knowledge, presentation, preparation and all round barista ability. The winner of the competition will represent the UK at the World Barista Championships in Seattle in April.

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