For me, food and drink we offer at The Cairn - or indeed on any occasion - should inspire conversation, create links between landscape and producer, capture the guests imagination and stand out from the crowd whilst telling the essential story about what it is and why it's on the menu.
Supporting local and sustainable producers is vitally important to me and we are lucky that here in the Cairngorms, we have an abundance of local suppliers that are selling and creating fantastic produce, all made with dedication, skill and love. I appreciate finding these people isn't always quick or easy, but spending that time searching for them reaps rewards not only for the quality and flavours for your dishes but also for the wider environment.
Here in my role as Menu Curator for The Cairn Distillery, we work with a number of excellent local suppliers including KJ's Bothy Bakery, Rising Roots Microgreens, Braemar Chocolate and Balliefurth Farm. You can learn more about what they do and how they are partners of The Cairn here.
Recently I was given the opportunity to work with The Cairn to bring my love of food, whisky and local produce together. Working with two aspiring and passionate foodies - Dave Cox from Surrey and Fiona Patterson from Drumnadrochit - we wanted to inspire them to begin their journey and reignite their long held ambitions to work with food in a professional capacity.
They joined me in the Cairngorms to visit The Cairn and a host of our partners to create dishes that would be served on the seasonal menu at the distillery and at the very special Grand Gathering event they are holding this summer.
The first dish, a Roast Scottish asparagus dish, prepared with Cora Lynn cheese, sunflower sprouts, lemon and olive oil to delight the tastebuds.
The other, smoked mackerel served with curry spiced bread, Rambo radish shoots and sweet pickled vegetables, is an absolute sensation.
You can see how our foodies developed their dishes on our Beacon of Inspiration page here.
I hope that their story will inspire all of you to go out and get cooking, using locally supplied ingredients whenever possible!