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Andrew Fairlie Scholarship

2021 Winners Josh Wilkinson & Amy Stephenson with Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Head Chef Stephen McLaughlin

The Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland has announced that the third annual Andrew Fairlie Scholarship will take place on Thursday 17th November.

The finals will see six talented chefs compete for the chance to become Andrew Fairlie scholars and take part in once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences.

The scholarship recognises an outstanding individual who is forging ahead with their culinary career and working in Scotland.

The six aspiring chefs in the running for the ‘ultimate scholarship’ in the industry include Taraya Boyes, aged 23, Commis Chef at The Balmoral’s Brasserie Prince restaurant in Edinburgh, and Rachel Bremner, aged 33, who is also working at The Balmoral as Commis Chef.

Lee Christie, aged 23, Commis Chef at Gleneagles is also in the running, alongside Sean Currie, aged 34, Head Chef at Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel’s iasg restaurant in Glasgow.

Two of the team from The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Dornoch have also made the shortlist - Eddie Brown, aged 30, Sous Chef, and Halil Can Durmaz, aged 29, Chef de Partie.

Perth College UHI will host the skills test and judging portion of the day, with the winner’s announcement being made at Gleneagles. A teenage Andrew, encouraged by mentor Keith Podmore, enrolled in a City & Guilds course at Perth College UHI before following Podmore to London members club, Boodles, and eventually winning the first ever Roux Scholarship.

Judges for the finals include some of the country’s finest chefs, all of whom knew Andrew Fairlie well.  Joining Stephen McLaughlin, (Head Chef at two Michelin-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie), is two Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge (Chef Patron, Hand & Flowers), Gary Maclean (National Chef of Scotland & MasterChef: The Professionals Winner), Michelin-starred Lorna McNee (Head Chef at Cail Bruich), and Andrew’s former mentor, Keith Podmore (former Chef de Cuisine at Boodles).

Sponsored by HIT Scotland and The Gleneagles Hotel, and supported by Restaurant Andrew Fairlie and Perth College UHI, the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship is now in its third year. The scholarship launched in 2019, with the late Andrew Fairlie spearheading the initiative in partnership with HIT Scotland – an industry charity he was closely associated with.

In 2021, scholarships were awarded to Amy Stephenson, aged 23, then a Junior Sous Chef at the Torridon hotel, and Josh Wilkinson, aged 26, working at the time as Senior Chef de Partie at the Isle of Eriska hotel. The chosen winner will gain industry-wide recognition as an Andrew Fairlie Scholar and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as a practical stage in an international kitchen and at Michelin-starred restaurants Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles and Core by Clare Smyth in London.

David Cochrane, Chief Executive of HIT Scotland, said:

“This is a unique opportunity for chefs working in Scotland to develop their skills and take on the mantle of Andrew’s legacy. It also gives them the chance to experience some fantastic industry opportunities that will help enhance their careers and development.
“We are once again passionate about showcasing the impressive culinary talent currently working away in Scotland while continuing to champion Andrew’s incredible legacy. Best of luck to all of our finalists!”

Stephen McLaughlin, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie Head Chef and lead judge, said:

“The calibre of chefs who applied this year was strong. We have chosen six very deserving chefs who all submitted immaculate recipes and well-thought-out paper answers to the questions set out in front of them - questions that Chef Andrew would no doubt have asked them himself. “Our line-up for finals day contains male and female chefs from a broad range of age groups, and they also show a real wealth of experience from within Scotland’s culinary industry. “I cannot wait to taste their dishes on the day and I’m hugely energised to be spending finals day with them all!”

Conor O’Leary, Managing Director at Gleneagles, commented:

“At Gleneagles, we’re dedicated to nurturing the next generation of talent and supporting young people to realise their potential – a commitment that was shared by our dear late colleague and friend, Andrew Fairlie.
"We’re enormously proud to continue supporting this scholarship, established in his honour, which provides a fantastic career development opportunity for chefs who demonstrate outstanding potential and helps to strengthen Scotland’s reputation as a centre for culinary excellence. We look forward to welcoming all the finalists in November.”

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