Great British Menu 2021: Scotland heat preview

The second regional heat of this year's Great British Menu focuses on the talent coming out of Scotland – get to know who's competing.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Roberta Hall-McCarron, The Little Chartroom, Edinburgh

Edinburgh-born Roberta is returning with steely determination after making it to the GBM finals last year. She started out in kitchens aged sixteen doing work experience and hasn’t looked back since, working for one of Scotland’s best chefs, Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin at The Kitchin before moving on to Castle Terrace with Dominic Jack.

Roberta is chef owner of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh which she runs with her husband, who manages front of house. Her style of cooking is traditionally Scottish, influenced by French techniques, and her menu for the competition is inspired by Scotland’s rich larder and some of her favourite pioneers including the Edinburgh seven – the first women to be matriculated at any British university – and James Clerk Maxwell’s first demonstration of colour photography.

Amy Elles, The Harbour Café, Fife

Returner Amy is throwing her hat into the ring again after being runner-up for Scotland last year. London-born, she has made her home on Scotland’s east coast with her family and runs her restaurant The Harbour Café in Fife.

Amy started her career at Harrods where she fell in love with the kitchen. She has also worked at The Fat Duck where she honed her skills in the pastry section, and at Moro. Along with her husband Jack, she is chef owner of The Harbour Café in Fife and Stocks Events private event catering. Amy prides herself on only using local Scottish ingredients and having a light, elegant touch without over garnishing.

Amy’s creative menu is inspired by Scotland’s finest produce and pioneers including Henry Faulds and his development of forensic fingerprinting.

Stuart Ralston, Aizle, Edinburgh

Stuart grew up in Glenrothes Fife and, coming from a family of chefs, was always destined to enter the industry. Stuart has worked in some very prestigious places including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in New York, and for VIP clientele at the exclusive Sandy Lane luxury resort in Barbados.

Seven years ago Stuart opened modern Scottish restaurant Aizle, meaning a burning coal or spark in Scots. In 2019 it was rated the fifth best fine dining restaurant in the UK and first in Scotland that year from Tripadvisor. In 2019 Stuart set up sister restaurant Not To Edinburgh which has just been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide for its small plates with global influences.

Stuart is bringing his modern Scottish cuisine to the competition and celebrating scientists such as Sir Alexander Fleming and Mary Somerville, the first woman to be a member of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Scott Smith, Fhior, Edinburgh

Scott Smith
Scott Smith

33-year-old Scott is originally from Aberdeen and is now chef owner of Fhior in Edinburgh. After starting out as pot wash at a young age, he took a job with Eddie McDonald who had previously run the highly regarded Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen – he trained him up and helped set him on his way. Scott then became a protégé of chef proprietor Geoffrey Smeddle at The Peat Inn near St Andrews, which is a landmark for modern Scottish cookery.

In 2018 Scott opened Fhior as chef patron with his wife Laura. Fhior won Restaurant of the Year at the Edinburgh Restaurant Awards in 2019 and the same year Scott was voted The Scotsman's Chef of the Year. He has now opened a second site with farmland so he can grow and cook heritage Scottish vegetables for the restaurant.

Scott’s creative modern cooking showcases Scottish produce including foraged and home-preserved ingredients. For the competition, he is celebrating key Scottish pioneers including Sir Alexander Fleming and John Logie Baird.

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