Orkney Master Chef returns

Four talented local chefs are set to take to the stage to celebrate the very best of Orkney’s larder next month.

The return of Orkney Food & Drink’s Orkney Master Chef event on October 5th will see professional cooks from businesses across the islands battle it out for the prestigious title.

It’s the first time the event has been held since 2019 and it’s hoped a capacity crowd will be on hand to support the chefs during the night. Taking part this year are:

Find out more about each chef below. Their menus will be revealed on the night.

  • Jenny Currie

    • Favourite dish: Seafood platter
    • Favourite ingredient: Butter
    • Guilty food pleasure: Dipping bread offcuts into peppercorn sauce
    • Worst kitchen disaster: Melting a chopping board to the bottom of a pan
    • Secret kitchen talent: Lighter gun slinger
  • Gayle Grieve

    • Favourite dish: Chilli chicken ramen
    • Favourite ingredient: Butter
    • Guilty food pleasure: Chinese takeaway
    • Worst kitchen disaster: Dropping things on the floor that have taken a long time to prepare, including a lamb roast and a baked cheesecake (twice!).
    • Secret kitchen talent: Appearing calm when things are going a bit wrong
  • Gary Nicolson

    • Favourite dish: King Prawn pad Thai
    • Favourite ingredient: Garlic
    • Guilty food pleasure: Tesco meal deal
    • Worst kitchen disaster: My sister's cat eating my granny and grandad's anniversary cake
    • Secret kitchen talent: Hiding vegetables in the kids' meals
  • Bee Omand

    • Favourite dish: Thai boat noodle with thick creamy soup
    • Favourite ingredient: Kaffir lime leaves
    • Guilty food pleasure: Eating hot fresh chilli
    • Worst kitchen disaster: Coping with the Orkney wind while cooking in the van
    • Secret kitchen talent: Never having an empty glass of red wine when cooking, or friends and family nearby

They’ll all be tasked with creating, cooking and presenting a three-course fine dining menu for two live on stage at the Orkney Theatre in Kirkwall. Each dish will be taste-tested and judged by experts, including local food blogger, Rosemary Moon, and Ingrid Groat, Chef Instructor at Orkney College UHI. A few lucky audience members will get the chance to sample some of the courses during the evening, which will once again be hosted by former BBC Radio Orkney presenters, Dave Gray and Robbie Fraser.

Despite the competitive element, the event is always a relaxed affair with plenty of laughs, and the focus is all on the quality products available from Orkney producers. Expect ingredients including Orkney scallops, beef, fish, and whisky, and spectators will also be able to browse stalls from Orkney Food & Drink members before and after the event. There will be a complimentary drink on arrival and a raffle featuring some excellent prizes, all in aid of Marie Curie and Fair Trade.

Callum MacInnes, Chairman of Orkney Food & Drink, said: “We are delighted to have this event back and to return to the original format where we have professionals at work. It is a competition of course, with an eventual winner, but primarily it is a celebration of Orkney Food & Drink – and just a great fun evening for all.”

Orkney Food & Drink Project Manager, Edgar Balfour, is looking forward to having Orkney Master Chef re-established on the local calendar. “Our last event was four years ago and it was a sell-out, so I’m hopeful that our 2023 come-back will be the same. There are still a few tickets left so I’d encourage all fans of our fabulous food and drink to snap them up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

“We are deeply indebted to our sponsors for their continued support of this event, in particular Huws Gray, CDA Appliances, and NorthLink Ferries, without whom Orkney Master Chef would not be possible,” he added.

The event will be held at the Orkney Theatre on October 5th with the Kirkwall Grammar School doors opening at 6.15pm and the Theatre doors at 7.15pm. The cooking will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Argo’s Bakery shop in Kirkwall, or by contacting orkneyfood@outlook.com.

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