The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 16 November 2007

Brig o'Doon Hotel hosts second annual Scottish Chefs Conference

The second Scottish Chefs Conference, the annual event conceived and organised by Willie Pike, Executive Chef and Head of Craft Training for Costley and Costley Hoteliers, will be held on Monday 19 November 2007 at Brig o’Doon, Alloway, South Ayrshire, providing a second chance for chefs of all levels of ability to learn direct from the very best in the business.

[Picture shows: Willie Pike, Executive Chef and Head of Craft Training for Costley and Costley Hoteliers.]

And the success of last year’s inaugural conference has been such that it has relocated from Lochgreen House Hotel in Troon to sister Costley & Costley venue Brig o’Doon in order to accommodate more than 300 confirmed delegates.

Last year’s quartet of celebrated demonstration chefs – Andrew Fairlie, Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin and William Curley – is followed this year by five of Britain’s finest chefs: Steven Doherty; Jason Atherton; James Campbell, James Petrie and Craig Sandle.

Explaining the thinking behind the unique event, Willie said: “The Scottish Chefs Conference aims to give chefs an opportunity to meet up and converse with each other, to expose them to some fresh ideas and cutting edge culinary techniques used by some of the best chefs in the business to help improve overall culinary standards in Scotland.

“The conference seeks to motivate youngsters starting out in their culinary careers, as well as rekindle the fire of some more seasoned professionals who perhaps think they already know it all, by providing a chance for them to be inspired by some of the most renowned chefs around.”

Indeed, Willie Pike’s personal highlight of last year’s conference was noticing Andrew Fairlie sitting in the audience concentrating on Tom Kitchin’s demonstration.

“That showed me that even the very best chefs acknowledge that there are things they can learn from their peers –and that’s what The Scottish Chefs conference is all about,” he said.

“It’s about sharing ideas and innovations with the best chefs around to motivate and inspire chefs to expand their repertoire, produce a higher standard of cuisine and to showcase Scotland as a centre of culinary excellence.”

Any chefs still wishing to attend the conference can make a reservation by contacting Kari or Christine on 01292 313343 at Lochgreen House Hotel. Further infromation is available at

Steven Doherty was the first ever Brit to become Head Chef of a Three-Michelin Star establishment, at Le Gavroche. He is the Chairman of Judges for the Gordon Ramsay scholarship and is on the management committee for the Academy of Culinary Arts. In 1991 he became only the fifth chef to achieve the Master of Culinary Arts Award.

Jason Atherton was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain’s famous El Bulli restaurant. Having worked under Pierre Koffman, Nico Ladenis and Gordon Ramsay as Executive Chef at Verre in Dubai, Jason brings the relatively unfamiliar method of line cooking to his kitchen: a process favoured in many top American kitchens.

James Campbell started as Head Pastry Chef at the award-winning Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where he actively partakes in various training and cookery demonstrations as far afield as Malaysia. He has recently been made a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts.

Fascinated by the precision and accuracy required in the artistry of pastry work, for the past six years James Petrie has been Pastry Chef of the award winning Fat Duck restaurant in Bray Berkshire, where he works with Heston Blumenthal researching and creating desserts that have received global critical acclaim.

Craig Sandle runs the Michelin star Number One restaurant housed in the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. Craig was a recent finalist in the British Chef of the Year competition and his starter was the highest marked by the judges. He is a seasoned culinary competitor, having represented Scotland and winning gold medals at the Culinary Olympics.

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