Gary is Orkney's Master Chef

Gary Nicolson has claimed the title of Orkney’s Master Chef after a fabulous night of the finest food and drink in Kirkwall.

Gary, who is a mobile catering chef with Box'd! Orkney, impressed the expert judges with his menu of lobster tortellini, ox tail tacos, and rhubarb tartlet at the Orkney Theatre last night as he took centre stage just ahead of culinary rivals Bee Omand, from Khua Thai, Gayle Grieve, from The Storehouse, and Jenny Currie, from the Murray Arms Seafood Restaurant.

The event, organised by Orkney Food & Drink and sponsored by NorthLink Ferries, Huws Gray, and CDA Appliances, showcases the very best of the Orcadian larder, with local beef, scallops, honey, gin, and even marshmallows all appearing on the menus.

A packed crowd watched on as the four professional chefs created their three-course meals live on stage. Each dish was presented to judges, local food blogger Rosemary Moon, Chef Instructor at Orkney College UHI, Ingrid Groat, Kit Bichan from Beiting & Brew, and Orkney Food & Drink Chair, Callum MacInnes. A few lucky members of the audience also got the chance to taste-test the food on offer.

Beforehand, a number of Orkney Food & Drink members helped get the crowd in the mood by offering samples of their products too.

The complete winning menu from Gary was:

  • Lobster tortellini, glazed lobster tail and parsnip served with lobster butter.
  • Ox tail taco, pickled red onion, fillet of beef, aubergine and miso purée.
  • Rhubarb tartlet, toasted vanilla marshmallow fluff and crispy crumble topping.

Project manager for Orkney Food & Drink, Edgar Balfour, said: “Huge congratulations to Gary for his win. Each of his dishes looked absolutely delicious and the judges all obviously enjoyed sampling them. All our contestants are due huge praise for taking part and conjuring up some incredible meals, showcasing not only their talent but the fantastic range of products available here in Orkney. It was another special night and all four chefs helped celebrate our local larder in style.

“Thanks must go to our sponsors for the generous support and also to our enthusiastic audience, who were kept entertained by hosts Robbie Fraser and Dave Gray. We’re already looking forward to doing it all again in 2025!” Newsletter

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