SCOTT DAVIES

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Having worked all over Scotland, Scott Davies took root at the prestigious Three Chimneys, where his clean, Nordic techniques are a perfect fit for Skye’s incredible larder. By championing local ingredients in this remote location, he gives diners a very good reason to make the trip to the island to enjoy the best of Skye, Land and Sea.

Every young Welsh lad dreams of pulling on a red shirt, stepping out on to the turf at the Millennium Stadium and playing rugby for their country to a chorus of Land of My Fathers. For Scott Davies – a Welsh Schools Rugby player in his teenage years – that fantasy could have been reality, but Scott never doubted that he would cook for a living. ‘I think I made my mind up when I was about thirteen that I wanted to be a chef,’ he says, ‘and that was it. I never changed my mind!’

Inspired by his parents and TV chefs like Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, Scott left his native Newport at the age of sixteen to start catering college in Dundee, working under Paul Whitecross and David Kinness at the Carnoustie Golf Hotel in the summers to get his foot in the door. A stint with Craig Miller at The Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews soon followed, but it wasn’t until he worked under Robert MacPherson at the Isle of Eriska Hotel that Scott started to understand who he was as a chef. ‘Robert is absolutely brilliant,’ he says. ‘He taught me so much about wastage and using the entirety of your produce, as well as foraging and using your natural surroundings.’

Robert also encouraged Scott to travel, and two years later he left the Isle of Eriska for the rather sunnier shores of Australia. He settled in Melbourne, taking a job at The Point in Albert Park and working under head chef Scott Pickett, who had recently returned from his own travels, and three years at The Square with Phil Howard. ‘I absolutely loved it,’ says Scott. ‘The produce was amazing, and I was lucky to work with a great head chef. The food in Australia was a lot cleaner than what I was used to. A lot of my training was classical French, using a lot of cream and butter and very heavy flavours, whereas in Australia food was much lighter.’

On his return to the Scottish Highlands, Scott’s newfound culinary identity and talent became clear to see. He became senior sous chef at the Russacks Hotel in St Andrews, and earned the restaurant 3 AA Rosettes within a year of being promoted to head chef. He later moved to The Adamson, and built a reputation for excellent food there too, before he starred in the 2013 series of MasterChef: The Professionals. ‘My goal was always to reach the semi-finals,’ says Scott. ‘I wanted the opportunity to see two-star and three-star chefs work.’ In the end, Scott did reach the semi-finals – he finished as runner up in the competition, and got to work alongside two culinary heavyweights in Sat Bains and Massimo Bottura. ‘It completely opened my mind. They were always talking about how to create pure flavours. When you have high quality ingredients, you’re actually diluting them by using butter and cream to make purées and sauces. A lot of what we do now at The Three Chimneys is inspired by that. When we make a carrot purée, it just tastes of carrot – it’s not diluted by any fats.’

In 2015, Scott left The Adamson and became head chef at The Three Chimneys in Skye, spearheading a changing of the guard at the prestigious restaurant. With a new-look team now in place, Scott’s clean, pure style is proving to be a wonderful match for the Isle of Skye, and The Three Chimneys is reaffirming itself as one of the UK’s very best restaurants.

Three things you should know:

  • Scott is only the third head chef in The Three Chimney’s thirty-two-year history, and got the job when he was just twenty-nine.
  • Being based in such a remote location means Scott sources as many ingredients from Skye as he can, rather than relying on imports from Scotland and beyond.
  • Scott takes time out to help teach budding chefs at schools and colleges across the Scottish Highlands, encouraging younger generations to begin a career in hospitality.

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