In a Nutshell, Chef Calum Montgomery: ‘If I wasn’t a chef I’d be a pro wrestling referee living the rock and roll lifestyle’

In a Nutshell, Chef Calum Montgomery: ‘If I wasn’t a chef I’d be a pro wrestling referee living the rock and roll lifestyle’

Calum Montgomery, Edinbane Lodge on the Isle of Skye tells us about his love of seafood, his wife being a better cook than him, and his dream celebrity dinner guests. 


What’s the closest thing you have to a signature dish: 

Our scallop dish – it hasn’t come off the menu in over two years! An XL scallop, hand dived at Loch Greshornish, pan roasted and served with a smoked seaweed butter sauce, studded with fresh cucumber from our polytunnel. It is simplicity at its best, and all about the produce. 

Describe your style of cuisine in ten words: 

Modern Scottish cuisine, that highlights the best of Skye’s produce 

Best and/or most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten: 

Faviken, in 2017. Unforgettable. 

Worst/weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten: 

Tripe. I hate it. 

Worst thing you’ve ever cooked: 

About 12 years ago, during a breakfast service at a previous job, someone brought me a half-eaten Big Mac from the night before and asked me to reheat it for them, to be served at the table . 

What’s the dish that you’re most proud of having cooked: 

Any time I have seafood on the menu which has been caught by my uncle Alasdair. It creates such a special story and a real connection to the final dish. 

Favourite ingredient
Fresh fish and shellfish – especially when it comes from Skye.

Your go-to recipe book: 

The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson 

What other country’s cuisine really excites and intrigues you?: 

I really love Japanese food. 

Most you’ve ever paid for a meal: 

I’m not entirely sure. Menu prices right now compared to five years ago are completely different. Maybe Hélène Darroze, or Claude Bosi’s Signature Menu at Bibendum. 

Your favourite Scottish chef: 

I’m a big fan of what Mark Donald is doing at Glenturret, it’s next level stuff. 

Favourite chef outside Scotland: 

I love everything that Mark Birchall is doing at Moor Hall. I had the privilege to eat there last year and left feeling totally inspired.

Who taught you to cook or ignited your passion for food as a youngster: 

My first head chef was Robert Macaskill. He was brilliant to me, and inspired me to pursue a career in cheffing. 

Most important lesson a young chef can learn: 

Ask questions. Write everything down. Work hard. 

Culinary mentor – the most important person in your development as a professional chef: Marcello Tully saw a lot in me and gave me the opportunity to help run his kitchen. He promoted me to a high position within his team at a very young age. 

Best thing about the industry: 

The teamwork, the passion, and being able to work with the best produce in the world. 

Worst thing about the industry: 

The social life (or lack of!). 

What’s the biggest sin a chef can commit: 

Not putting anything under your chopping board. Amateur hour. 

What do you eat when you’re at home: 

Very simple things. I love a steak dinner when I’m at home. 

Celebrity guest or your perfect dinner party – who would you most like to cook for: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Gordon Ramsay, Chris Stapleton, Ally Mccoist and Jennifer Lawrence. All at the same table. Then hopefully get a beer at the bar with them after. 

Tell me a something about you that virtually no-one knows: 

My wife is a much better chef than me. She was crowned professional cookery student of the year when we were in college together, but she gave up cheffing when we moved back to Skye to work with her mum. 

What’s your favourite wine? 

I have a real sweet tooth and really love a dessert wine. Inniskillin Sparkling Icewine 2018 is a favourite. 

Your spirit of choice? 

Bulleit Bourbon or a lovely Edinbane Lodge Gin.

Do you play music in the kitchen and, if so, what’s your go-to track or artist: Very much so. My sous chef Julio is a big Swifty so that’s being played to death just now.

I like a lot of country, in particular Luke Combs or Chris Stapleton, but the boys can’t stand it. Or it annoys them even more when I put on any 2001 metal – Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock or Creed. I’m the oldest in the kitchen by 10 years, so they just don’t get it. 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? 

A pro wrestling referee. Living the rock and roll lifestyle without any need to work out.


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