Ross Cochrane, Head Chef at the Prince Charles Restaurant, Rothesay Rooms in Ballater
I was delighted to receive a HIT Scotland craft scholarship for winning North East of Scotland Chef of the Year. The competition requires you to prepare and cook three courses which are on the menu at your own establishment, using North East of Scotland produce, in season, and sourced from local suppliers, and it was fantastic to win this.
I’ve been cooking for 14 years, and have worked with some fantastic chefs. I started my career in Aberdeen, then spent some time working under a London chef who encouraged me to head south, where I spent a few months working for Gordon Ramsay. With a young family back in Aberdeen, I felt I wanted to continue my career in Scotland, so returned to climb the Aberdeen chef ladder. I spent some time working in St Andrews with Masterchef finalist Scott Davies, who know heads up the award winning Three Chimneys in Skye, and then became Head Chef at the Palm Court Hotel, where I won the North East of Scotland Chef of the Year competition.
For my scholarship, I asked if I could spend a week at Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers gastro pub in Marlow, the only UK pub to be awarded two stars in the Michelin guide. I’ve followed Tom’s food style for many years, and it would give me the opportunity to see another fantastic chef in action, see how they put together menus, and what makes them special enough to gain 2 Michelin stars.
It was an eye opening experience for me, and I learned a lot of new and different techniques which I plan to use in my own cooking. The attention to detail and the passion that goes into a 2 Michelin star kitchen was something I’ll never forget.
Working with top class chefs has been a great inspiration for me, and no matter how long you’ve been a chef, you should be continually learning and updating your skills, to help the kitchen you work in be the best it can be. In September I became Head Chef at the Rothesay Rooms in Ballater, owned by Prince Charles, so I hope to take all I have learned over the years into this new role, and encourage those working for me to show their potential and become great chefs.
I’d definitely recommend a HIT craft scholarship, as you learn so much, and these experiences help grow a chef’s passion and commitment to the industry. So get applying!
Look at the HIT scholarships here - closes 24 November