Media Release: Semi-finalists announced for Scotland’s ‘toughest’ chef competition


FOLLOWING a stringent paper judging process, the semi-finalists for the Scottish Chef of the Year competition, run by the Federation of Chefs Scotland, have been chosen.

They are now preparing for a ‘cook-off’ at West Lothian College on Tuesday 3rd February 2015.

The semi-finalists represent a breadth of talent from education, the Armed Forces and some of Scotland’s most prestigious venues and companies.

Adding to the excitement this year, the semi-finalists include Jamie Scott, recent winner of Masterchef: The Professionals, on BBC. He is joined by a former Masterchef: The Professionals finalist, Adam Handling.

This is a unique event where the competitors are scrutinised throughout the cooking process and also on the presentation and tasting of the final dishes.

The competition has been won in the past by some of Scotland’s top chefs, including Bruce Sangster, from the Michelin-starred Sangster’s in Elie; Gary Watson, from Gordon’s Restaurant in Inverkeilor; and senior judge and past president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland, Kevin MacGillivray.

The final of the competition then takes place, live in front of an industry audience at the ScotHot Exhibition on 5 March 2015, in a purpose-built theatre in Hall 4 at the SECC. Each competitor has three-and-a-half hours to present a four-course meal for four covers to some of Scotland’s toughest culinary judges.

The 2015 semi-final judges are Joe Queen, former president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and executive chef at The Tennent’s Training Academy; Stephen McLaughlin, from Scotland’s two-star Michelin restaurant, Andrew Fairlie’s at Gleneagles; Ian MacDonald, president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and executive chef at the St Andrews Links Trust; Kevin MacGillivray, previous winner of Scottish Chef of the Year and executive chef at MacDonald Hotels.

The president of the Federation, Ian MacDonald, said: “As a judge, I know how tough this competition is. Competing live means that you are working under scrutiny from both the audience and the judges, which allows no room for error. You have to have complete focus. This is not just about showcasing your skills as a chef but it’s also about showing your confidence as a competitor.”

Says Soraya Gadelrab, event director of ScotHot: “We’re delighted to see the diversity of semi-finalists for the Scottish Chef of the Year award. It’s a true reflection of the quality and variety of the catering and hospitality business in Scotland and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and others in the industry to ScotHot, which is the key event in Scotland for those working in these areas as well as food and drink and tourism.”

The semi-finalists are:

* Andrew Laycock, Wilde Thyme,

* Christopher Curtis, RAF Leuchars

* Craig Gibb, Orde Food Co

* Jamie Scott, Rocca Restaurant

* Paul O’Malley, Culcreuch Castle

* Robbie Penman, Houston House Hotel

* Alex Thain, Cromlix House

* Zoltan Szabo, Cameron House Hotel

* Dougal McPherson, New College Lanarkshire

* Adam Handling, The Caxton Grill

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For more information or to attend the semi-final, please contact Marie-Clare James, Federation of Chefs Scotland.

T: 01324 876 437 /07968 499990

Founded in 1999, Fresh Montgomery is a dynamic and creative company specialising in organising exhibitions in the UK and further afield. Over the last 13 years, we have built up a reputation for delivering unparalleled business opportunities for the food, drink and hospitality industries. Fresh Montgomery is an award-winning company and a dominant force in the exhibition industry, organising market-leading events in the food, drink and hospitality sectors.

For further information, please visit

The Federation of Chefs Scotland is a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds to support industry in Scotland. They operate and fund the Scottish culinary teams who represent Scotland at international culinary competitions.

ScotHot 2015 will bring together over 8,000 members from across the hospitality, tourism and food service industry. Previewing innovative new products from hundreds of exhibitors, the three-day event will be packed with dynamic competitions, including the 30h Scottish Culinary Championships, practical workshops and crucial networking and business opportunities. For further information, please see

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Contact: Marie-Clare James
Phone: 07968499990