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The CS Interview: David Littlewood, executive chef, Raemoir House Hotel

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The CS Interview: David Littlewood, executive chef, Raemoir House Hotel

October 21
20:07 2013
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David, 30 – who’d spent five years at the Milton restaurant in Banchory, when owners Neil and Julie Rae bought Raemoir in 2010 and persuaded him to join them – had previously honed his head chef skills at Café 52 in his native Aberdeen, and at Ballathie House, under Kevin MacGillivray.

Critical of the fashion for chefs devising and preparing wacky-sounding dishes for the sake of being different, David prefers to keep his concepts simple:

‘I don’t have any patience for people who think they’re being ground-breaking and revolutionary but ‘inventing’ stupid dishes such as chicken in coca cola, or steak and raspberries,’ he explains. ‘What are these people on?

‘Such combinations may sound innovative but they rarely succeed as intended. If you want your recipes to work out, first of all the ingredients and flavours have got to match up!’

Using the analogy of children receiving a box of 100 different kinds of jelly beans at Christmas, he continues: ‘Pop them in your mouth one at a time and you’ll know what flavour they’re supposed to be,’ he comments. ‘Throw in a handful and they all taste the same’

A Masterchef of Great Britain, David has won numerous accolades over the years, including Grampian Young Chef of the Year in 2002 and Grampian Chef of the Year in 2007.

However, his greatest personal achievement to date was being crowned Chef of the Year at ScotHot 2013. Having been a finalist in both 2009 and 2011, he knew there was pressure to secure the title third time round.

With a winning menu which reflected one of his principal influences – Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume restaurant at Cartmel in Cumbria – David used venison tartare with caper marmalade for his starter at ScotHot:

I undertook a stage under Mark Birchall at L’Enclume a few years ago,’ he concludes. ‘That taught me so much about local produce and seasonality, and it gave me the venison tartare with caper marmalade dish I used for my starter in the biggest competition of my life.’

www.raemoir.com

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CateringScotland.com meets David Littlewood, executive chef at Raemoir House Hotel and winner of the 2013 ScotHot Chef of the Year title…

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