Hector MacRae

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Hector MacRae grew up on the Isle of Skye in a community that, at the time, was dominated by crofting and fishing. In that environment it was impossible not to have an appreciation of the food that was produced locally. From the numerous fishing boats in Uig bay to the butcher in Portree, taking local lamb from the field to the plate, he was very much aware of the contribution Skye made to the food industry. However, it was also very clear that much of the produce at the time was taken directly off the island and found its way to restaurants in the south of the U.K. or the continent.

Hector went to Napier College to study Hotel Management where it was the cooking aspect of the course that grabbed his interest. Amongst other places, he has worked at Ubiquitious Chip in Glasgow and Airds Hotel in Argyll a Michelin starred restaurant.

Hector opened his restaurant, First Coast (named after a tiny village in Wester Ross) in 2003 with his brother Alan with a focus on creating fresh, tasty, homemade food in a relaxed environment. Their aim was to create a neighbourhood bistro for the west of Edinburgh. He sources ingredients as locally as possible but cooks with an eye to flavours from around the world. He makes the most of Scotland’s abundant larder – often catching his own fish, having venison delivered from the highlands or Reestit mutton from Shetland. He also sources a lot of meat when possible from the local city farm, down the road in Gorgie. He works with them to hold events on site to promote awareness and enjoyment of the produce. His brother is now back on Skye working as a teacher and working his own croft – they are exploring the potential to source meat for the restaurant from the Skye croft and key to that plan is getting a local abattoir back up and running for the Island. Hector is also passionate about ensuring that fish and shellfish from the island finds its way to First Coast rather than London or Barcelona!

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