My favourite Scottish Chef – Mr Graham Campbell

I Love a fine dining experience that is beautifully balanced. One that elates my taste buds with flavours and textures, to the point that my every sense is scintillating.

A delicious meal does that to me. Its more than just eating. So much more than just sustenance and nourishment. Fine dining to me is a sensory extravaganza. My whole being seems to get involved, from first reading the description of the dish on the menu, to the sight and scent of its arrival, and then finally, to the taste and texture of that exquisitely delivered dish …. Heaven ….

One of my fondest memories of such a meal was a good few years back on the Isle of Skye. My fiancé and I were on an adventure type holiday, and decided to stay at the Duisdale House Hotel. I didn’t know it then, but I had just booked my very first Michelin starred experience.

It wasn’t until we had returned home, that I discovered that the Dusidales head chef at the time was no other than Scotland’s very own (any youngest) Michelin Starred Chef – Graham Campbell.

All I knew, when seated in that dining room on the western Isles, was that the meals we were being served were far, far superior to anything we had tasted before … and very few since have lived up to!

Our dining experience would start with delightful combinations, such as a pea and mint, or courgette and coconut volute. I remember being immediately stunned, by the decadent flavours that excited, and cleared my palate for the feast to come ….

We ate venison that was so delicious even Bambi himself would have bid his dear parent farewell knowing they were off to an honourable table. The beef was absolutely perfect, the sea food so fresh it could only have been landed on the west coast …. And of course wines that complimented each mouthful …

And the desserts – Chocolate, oh my mother. There was a chocolate mousse that I wanted to take  straight to bed! A Cardamom Crème Brulee, and so many others that I regret not being able to sample …

Breakfast was equally divine. I remember my poached eggs being so perfect I had to take a moment to gaze in wonder, as my mouth watered in anticipation …

Before our arrival on Skye, we had booked a lunch at a hotel up the road then famed for its cuisine – Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant – And I have to say it was not a patch on Young Mr Campbell culinary skills, which I relayed to Mr. Campbell at the time through his waiting staff.

We were blessed with three exquisitely tasting days that summer in the Duisdale. Continually regaled by Scotland’s finest fair … I can tell you I did not want to leave …

Mr Campbell however has come a long way from the isle of Skye. Predictably, he now has two Michelin stars to his name, and has headed kitchens from Inverness to Manchester.

At present Graham heads the kitchen of Castelhill Restaurant, Dundee Scotland. And true to his modern day mastery of cuisine, he conjures up perfectly balanced flavourful dishes, complete with deliciously ripe foraged edibles. Natural bounty long forgotten by so many of our UK kitchens.

I hope to visit that dining room soon, and relive the bliss that I experienced years before on the Magical Isle of Skye …

Chef Graham Campbell, thank you …. My taste buds have never been quite the same …

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