In a nutshell, Chef Coalin Finn: ‘Family dinner was always at the table, where we laughed and shared stories’

In a nutshell, Chef Coalin Finn: ‘Family dinner was always at the table, where we laughed and shared stories’

Coalin Finn is the Executive Chef at Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews. At the Old Course, Coalin is committed to celebrating local Scottish cuisine.

Describe your style of cuisine in ten words: 

Delicious, intentional, understandable, seasonal, approachable, beautiful , luxurious, classic based with modern techniques.

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

My wedding meal, at our favourite Tapas restaurant.

Worst/weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten:

Fresh tomatoes, it’s the texture that kills me. Eat everything at least once.

Worst thing you’ve ever cooked:

Crocodile tail.

Favourite ingredient:


Your go-to recipe book:

Thuries or YAM – both French magazines focusing on Haute Cuisine and trends, only available in French, luckily I speak French.

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

Japanese, French, or eastern European/Russian cuisine – I find the Eastern European food to be such a melting pot of different cultures.

Most you’ve ever paid for a meal:

£450 in 2013 at The Square by Phil Howard in London.

Your favourite Scottish chef:

Tristan Farmer, ex Frantzen chef.

Favourite chef outside Scotland:

Daniel Humm, Eleven Madsion Park.

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

My Mother. Family dinner was always at the table, where we laughed and shared stories.

Most important lesson a young chef can learn:

To get somewhere in this career is all about attitude, and willingness to sacrifice. What you put in, is what you get out, you can’t be successful watching the clock, or looking for more money every year. It is a labour of love.

Culinary mentor – the most important person in your development as a professional chef: Dmitri Magi – Davies & Brook, Eleven Madison Park, and Didier Laufenburger.

Best thing about the industry:


Worst thing about the industry:


What’s the biggest sin a chef can commit:

Double dipping, dirty shoes, messy station, chewing gum.

What do you eat when you’re at home:

My wife’s lovely food, she was a chef too.

Celebrity guest or your perfect dinner party – who would you most like to cook for:

Tiger Woods, Bono, Mark Wahlberg, Britney Spears, Kevin Costner.

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

I speak four languages and have insane endurance.

What’s your favourite wine?

Petit Chablis or Pinot Noir

Your spirit of choice?


Do you play music in the kitchen and, if so, what’s your go-to track or artist:

Unfortunately I don’t like music in the kitchen.

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

Sports psychologist or cattle farmer.


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