6 of our Kingdom’s royal claims to fame
26 Apr 22
5 MIN READ TIME
03 March 22
Three of Fife’s top chefs reveal why they love cooking with fresh produce from Fife’s fields, forests and sea creating an edible picture of what Fife has to offer.
“Fife has, in my opinion, the most beautiful larder in the world,” says Dean Banks, chef/owner of Haar Restaurant in St Andrews, which features in the Michelin Guide.
“From the world's best shellfish - St Andrews Bay Lobster - to the amazing beef produced by our neighbours at Balgove Larder. And then there’s Falkland Kitchen Garden’s organic, bio-diverse farming, which provides the team at Haar with amazing produce such as kuri squash, Chinese cabbage, flowering courgettes, monk’s beard and many other amazing ingredients.
“I also forage as much possible and Fife’s combination of coast and forest provides the best foraging I've experienced. In the same trip, I can collect seaweeds such as dulse from the rocks around St Andrews and pick cep mushrooms in nearby Tentsmuir Forest.”
Dean trained at Rick Stein's The Seafood Restaurant, has worked in kitchens in over 40 countries, and was a finalist in BBC1’s MasterChef: The Professionals in 2018. “At Haar, we bring together flavours and cooking styles from all over the world to showcase our incredible locally-sourced produce,” he says.
“My signature dish - St Andrews Bay Lobster served with locally-foraged dulse and herbs and Mirin butter - is an edible picture of what Fife has to offer. The lobsters are caught no less than 500 metres from my restaurant and delivered ten minutes after leaving the sea. I’m a very lucky chef to be located in such a wonderful area.”
‘The quality in Fife is phenomenal’ Jamie Scott is chef patron at The Newport, the highly-acclaimed restaurant with rooms in Newport- on-Tay. “We use as much Fife produce as we can,” says Jamie, who won BBC1’s Masterchef: The Professionals in 2014.
“We get a lot of our langoustines and wet fish such as cod, hake, monkfish and squid from St Monans, we get crabs and lobsters from St Andrews, we get a lot of beef and pork from just outside Glenrothes and the majority of our vegetables come from Falkland Farms, Pillars of Hercules and nearby Pittormie Farm.”
Jamie explains that, although he’s an advocate of shopping local, quality is his key consideration when buying ingredients for The Newport’s award-winning dishes. “The sheer level of quality in Fife is phenomenal,” he says. “There’s an abundance of high-quality produce – I can get exactly what I need.”
When asked what his favourite Fife ingredient is, Jamie offers a choice of three – in no particular order! “First of all, Anster Cheese from the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company,” he reveals. “It’s amazing and we use it instead of parmesan. Second, lobsters from St Andrews Bay, which are naturally sweet and really meaty.
“My third favourite Fife ingredient has to be kale from Pittormie Farm. Kale is so underrated yet it’s such a versatile vegetable. It tastes absolutely delicious when barbecued or flash fried.
“We’re incredibly lucky at The Newport that we’ve such a fabulous array of local, seasonal, top quality ingredients to choose from.”
‘As much Fife produce as possible’ Originally a coaching inn, The Peat Inn near St Andrews has been providing a warm welcome, food, drink and beds for over 250 years. Today, The Peat Inn is a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms, specialising in modern, seasonal Scottish dining.
“There’s as much Fife produce as possible in The Peat Inn’s menu,” reveals Chef Patron Geoffrey Smeddle. “Fish, lobsters, crab and langoustines are available much of the year and we even had a lovely dish of local squid last summer. We stuffed the squid with jumbo couscous cooked in paella spices – it had a wonderful holiday feel to it at a time when no-one was able to travel.
“Fife’s famous for soft fruit so the likes of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and gooseberries always feature in our summer menus. In spring, asparagus is grown near the coast and there’s a good choice of local vegetables in colder months. In addition, local cheese, beef and lamb are available - and much underrated wood pigeons.
“We had great comments last year about a wood pigeon dish where the crown was stuffed with a black pudding made by our butcher, Henderson’s.”
Geoffrey’s passionate about showcasing Scottish ingredients - and the closer to home, the better. “Fife’s gentle climate, lush soil and gentle rolling fields make for excellent farming,” he stresses.
“I also think Fife’s producers are very bold. You only have to consider Jane Stewart starting up the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company and, more recently, the development of The Buffalo Farm and its herd of buffalo at Boglily Farm near Kirkcaldy. I also admire Ardross Farm Shop near Elie, while the monthly markets at Bowhouse are always fun.”