I’m driving through some of the most incredible scenery in Scotland, and I’m torn. I want to reach The Three Chimneys before darkness falls, so I’m racing the gloaming. But the glorious light of golden hour on the Isle of Skye is bathing her landscapes, making them even more irresistible and just begging to be photographed.

I reach the unassuming croft house, with the simple whitewashed exterior that belies its life as one of Scotland’s finest restaurants, just as the sun dips behind the hills allowing me a brief glimpse of the views over Loch Dunvegan.

I’m visiting The Three Chimneys for a unique experience. Led by Head Chef Scott Davies, the Seafood and Game Masterclass is an opportunity to discover how some of the finest produce in Scotland inspires the menu here and how it is transformed into dishes that reflect the very soul of the Isle of Skye.

But that’s for tomorrow. Tonight I have the pleasure of dining at The Chef’s Table, with a front row seat on kitchen service. That’s if I can tear my concentration away from the 11-course tasting menu, with paired drinks. There are six seats at the table this evening and as I introduce myself to the other guests I’m surprised by how quiet the kitchen is. I had anticipated the rattling of pots and pans and maybe a little bit of shouting, but all is remarkably calm. I chat with my fellow diners, some of whom will be joining me at tomorrow’s masterclass, as we are led expertly through the food and drink offerings by the kitchen brigade as we journey through course, after course from land and sea.

Highlights include the Flambadou oyster with cider butter sauce and pickled apple, which we watch being prepared on a beech log, and enjoy with a delicious French perry. Chef Scott has been baking sourdough bread from the same starter for the last eight years and when combined with a seaweed butter and a juniper butter the breads were a simple, but comforting addition. Loch Dunvegan langoustines were sweet, juicy and hyper-local. I was really blown away by one of the puds, a single origin chocolate rice pudding with Jerusalem artichoke, coffee, tonka bean and truffle. Paired with a sweet Sauternes it transports me back to the comfort of childhood dinners, while reminding me that being a grown-up can be lots of fun too.

I’m staying in the House Over-By, the restaurant’s rooms in the building next door, so retiring is effortless, which is good after 11 courses. There are only six rooms here, but they are huge and beautifully designed with plenty of hygge and views to die for. I wake to a stunning sunrise and can’t resist a wander down to the shore before breakfast. Home-made granola and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs set me up for a morning in the kitchen learning how to prep game and seafood. Back at the chef’s table we change into our Three Chimneys aprons and peruse the lunch menu before joining Scott at the pass.

On the masterclass menu are roasted double dived Sconser scallops, baked potato dashi, hazelnut butter and seaweed; roasted saddle of Skye deer, truffle mousse, cabbage, moss and elderberry sauce and apple crumble souffle. Chef Scott talks us through the processes required for each dish as he juggles pots on the stove, and Sous Chef Ryan Woodward teaches us to safely open the scallops. We discover just how much of what goes into the menu is sourced locally and how little is wasted. Knowing the provenance of produce – like the scallops which are twice dived (first to bring them closer to the surface, where the light enhances their flavour, and then again to bring them out of the water) by father and son team Davy and Ben Oakes in Loch Sligachan on Skye – makes it all the more special. But it also creates a sense of added responsibility, knowing that someone has put so much passion into ensuring the produce is the very best it can be, and I was hugely relieved to release my scallop from its shell without mutilating it with my knife.

Thoroughly briefed on the processes required for each of the three courses on the lunch menu, we’re seated at the chef’s table to enjoy the fruits of our labours. There’s something really special about eating food that you have such a profound understanding of. From provenance, to preparation and presentation, it’s a deeply personal experience. As I flick through the recipe cards given to us in a lovely presentation folder, I can’t wait to try out the dishes at home.

Feeling decidedly well-fed again I decide to take myself off for a walk and a dip in the sea at the nearby coral beach. Here, what looks like white sand, is actually small pieces of coralline, an algae that is crushed by the waves and bleached by the sun. By the time I’ve walked off a little of my lunch and I’m entering the water, the low winter sun is again providing some pretty spectacular lighting for this micro-adventure. Listening to the gentle rattling of the coralline and the lapping of the waves is a moment of blissful calm.

But the culinary arm of this journey isn’t over yet, because I’ve not yet had the pleasure of dining in the restaurant. I sit by the window in the flickering candlelight and admire the eclectic selection of art that adorns the walls of the croft house. The menu here is four courses and it’s a tough choice. I plump for Alder smoked trout, langoustines, Isle of Lewis grouse and a chocolate fondant tart with Talisker preserved cherries (which will absolutely be a new staple in the Bootland house this Christmas).

The front of house staff strike the perfect balance of friendly, yet professional and with much chatter around the possibility of spotting the Northern Lights, my waiter promises to come and get me if he thinks there might be a chance. Between my main and pud he offers to take me outside and show me the best place to go to look north. There is a faint green glow as I gaze longingly into the darkness, it’s only visible through my phone, but looking out over the loch with very little light pollution it’s undoubtedly there.

A visit to The Three Chimneys has always been a treat, but the Seafood and Game masterclass undoubtedly elevates the experience and provides a deep connection to the island, its crofters, growers brewers and fishermen that may otherwise pass you by.



The Seafood and Game Masterclass costs £120 per person, which includes a three course lunch and bespoke wine pairings. Dates available to book now are:

December 2023:
Friday 8 and Saturday 9
Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13
Friday 15 and Saturday 16

January 2024:
Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24
Friday 26 and Saturday 27
Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31

The Three Chimneys, Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye IV55 8ZT

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