CHEF Calum Montgomery
Restaurant/Café: Edinbane Lodge.
Location: Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK.
Facebook/LinkedIn: Calum Montgomery
With an abundance of the freshest seasonal produce the Isle of Skye's 'natural larder' has available, Chef Calum is spoilt for choice when it comes to his menu creation at Edibane Lodge. As a local he knows all the suppliers by name adding to the exceptional experience of staying and dining at this historic lodge. Read more about this month's Chef in the spotlight...
Chef Calum outside Edibane in his favourite Hartford Chef Coat
1. Your restaurant/business:
Edibane Lodge - an historic island retreat off the North West coast of Scotland .
2. Describe your kitchen:
We have a focused, well-organised team. All working towards the same goals with the ambition to showcase the very best produce of Skye.
3. Favourite Chef Works item and why?
Without a doubt the Hartford long sleeved chef jacket – It's the best jacket I have ever owned. I loved it so much that I have just supplied our whole team with embroidered Hartford jackets from Chef Works. They are very comfortable, breezy and very practical too.
Chef and his kitchen team in their Hartfords.
4. First job:
I was a specialist cleaner's assistant at 13. I started in the kitchens at age 14 as a Porter in a local two AA Rosette restaurant in my home town of Portree on Skye.
5. Favourite cookbook:
I studied Fäviken by Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson for years before finally getting the chance to dine at his restaurant by the same name, in Sweden in 2016. It’s still my favourite book. Dining there blew me away as I had read the book front to back many times and always tried to imagine what some of the dishes would taste like. When I finally had the opportunity to try his food, it was even better than I thought it would be... Exceptional!
6. Your awards:
Awarded three AA Rosettes, Michelin Plate, GoodFood Guide Local Gem 2020, AA 5 Gold Star Restaurant with Rooms, Scotsman Food & Drink Best Use of Scottish Produce, CIS Excellence Restaurant Newcomer of the Year, Scottish Hotel Awards- Restaurant with Rooms of the year, TripAdvisor Travellers Choice and Scottish Food Awards Chef Patron of The Year.
7. Your cooking inspiration:
For me, it’s Skye produce. My inspirations have changed throughout my career, but it has always been very important to me to cook from the heart and showcase the produce from my native Island. When I was growing up on Skye, I took the produce here for granted as we were spoiled with langoustine, lobster and crab from friends and family on a regular basis.
When I returned to home to work in Skye after a number of years away, I decided I wanted to give people a true taste of Skye when they visited. I always strive to do our suppliers proud and showcase the exceptional produce they supply us with on a daily basis. The landscape and natural larder of Skye has always been my biggest inspiration.
Torched Sconser Scallop with Orbost Herb Gazpacho.
8. Your speciality dish:
An extra large Rona Langoustine Tail and Claw with pickled and roasted Viewfield Artichokes.
9. Favourite dish to eat:
I love anything which has been cooked with care and attention, however you can’t beat a good dry aged steak on the BBQ.
10. Weirdest thing you ever ate:
The GUGA – a Hebridean delicacy of young Gannet birds, plucked and singed over a fire, then scrubbed, butchered and generously salted.
The birds are arranged in carefully tessellated piles on the clifftop of an uninhabited island for a year to pickle in their own juices. Not only does this preserve the meat for the months ahead, but gives the Guga the distinctive flavour and aroma prized by connoisseurs – and described by sceptics from outside the islands as “somewhere between rotten leather and fishy beef”.
I ate the Guga the traditional way – boiled for one hour with some potatoes and a glass of milk. One of the most unique flavours I’ve ever experienced and one I’ll never forget.
I may not have it again, but I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to try something that has been done for over 500 years in the Western Isles.
11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Pistachio or black cherry.
12. Favourite drink:
Our very own Edinbane Lodge Gin and Tonic or a good cold pint of Tennent’s Lager.
Chef Calum at work shucking a fresh delivery of Scallops.
13. Favourite wine:
A Thanisch Estate Riesling, Weingut Dr.H.Thanisch, Mosel, Germany 2016.
14. Who would you most like to cook for?
Chef Gordon Ramsay and Stone Cold Steve Austin (wrestler and actor) at the same table – two legends.
15. And who would you least like to cook for?
I love to cook for anyone, if anything I’m probably most nervous and apprehensive about cooking for my parents. I’ve always been that way.
Konro Barbecued Oyster with Brown Crab and foraged Sea Vegetables
16. Favourite things to do when not cooking:
Spending time with my family and changing nappies. And there’s also fishing, football, foraging and catching a couple of drinks in my home town of Portree whenever the opportunity presents itself.
17. Your latest project:
Edinbane Lodge is a 450 year old building, so it’s always the latest project!
18. Favourite city?
Probably Aarhus in Denmark. I stagiered at Restaurant Frederikshoj a few years ago and the city was incredible. It reminded me of an immaculate, well run kitchen that was full of surprises. Very friendly people and amazing culture, I can’t wait to get back there some day.
19. Your greatest indulgence?
The Fat Panda, our local Chinese takeaway. I’m probably their best customer.
20. And finally, your all-time best culinary tip?
Treat every ingredient and dish with respect. The same care and attention should go into cooking a 45 day aged fillet steak for a guest as there should be preparing a cheese sandwich for the table next to them. Every job matters in a kitchen, big or small.
Photography: c/o Chef Calum Montgomery.