Welcome back to the blog…
So much has happened since we last spoke! I am very proud of Ross Marshall, our Head Chef at the Road Hole Restaurant who was this month awarded Young Chef of the Year at the Scotland Food & Drink Awards; it was very well deserved!
At the same award ceremony we also picked up the Success Through Working Partnerships award for our series of Supplier’s Lunches. We’re really pleased that the lunches have been received so well, it’s such a fantastic opportunity for our local suppliers and food journalists to get together and enjoy some great local produce and foodie chat. At out last lunch Iain Campbell from George Campbell and Sons gave a fantastic talk on the lobsters they deliver to the Hotel. I have always enjoyed cooking (and eating) lobsters so it was great to hear about the local lobsters we serve right before we enjoyed a delicious lobster soufflé prepared by Ross and his team from the Road Hole Restaurant. In fact, Ross even managed a gluten free version during his week on the Gluten Free Challenge for one of our wheat free diners – she was very appreciative as this is a difficult one to do gluten free but if you’d like the recipe I think we’ve got it cracked now!
As a chef there is nothing more inspiring than seeing the fresh lobsters arrive, ready to be prepared for service that afternoon. When they arrive in the kitchen the lobster are still alive with a dark blue hard shell it is not until they are cooked that they turn to a more recognisable red colour. The lobster must be alive for as long as possible before cooking as they begin to deteriorate as soon as they have been killed. The most humane way to kill a lobster is by slicing the head right between the eyes. For optimum freshness the lobster must then be placed into a pot of boiling water or onto the grill within seconds.
The lobsters that we serve are caught locally around the St Andrew bay area. The fishermen use a pot otherwise know as a creel, traditionally the pots were made from wood and rope however today people tend to use a more durable plastic and wire mesh pots. In my experience Scottish lobster are the best in the world but you can get lobster from several other countries such as north east America or Canada and Norway but none match the flavour of the Scottish lobster. In St Andrews we are very lucky to have such a great selection of shellfish on our doorstep.
Here at Sands Grill we serve lobster as part of our popular seafood platter or as a classic lobster thermidor. I like to keep it simple; lobster is delicious grilled with a little herb butter and a fresh side salad. Learning to prepare a lobster is really valuable skill, and it is something that I hope that our young chefs will take with them throughout their careers.
I always love to hear your tips and recipe suggestions so please do leave a comment or if you’d like any further information on preparing or cooking lobster please do let me know.
Take care and speak soon.