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Flavour Profile: Graham Omand, manager of Lagg Distillery, Arran

Omand worked as a stillsman at Lochranza Distillery before leading the team at its new sister distillery

What’s your favourite ingredient?

It would have to be smoked paprika as I’ve been a massive fan of Cajun cooking for years. It’s usually the starting block for any cooking I do round the house.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I just adore white chocolate, either as some kind of pudding or the bars. I think it’s generally looked down upon and considered more for children, compared to milk or dark chocolate, but I love it.

Tell us about your first food memory?

I can’t remember baby food, but my earliest vivid memory of food is probably Wee Willie Winkie’s sausages. My mum used to make me them for lunch when I was about nursery age. We stayed in a caravan when I was young and the grill was high up, and I remember staring at them getting cooked. Even today, I still steal a couple off of my son’s plate.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or café?

The restaurant we always find ourselves going back to when visiting Glasgow is the Bavaria Brauhaus. It has a massive selection of beautiful German beers on tap and amazing sharing platters. The location is key too, as we can sneak a cheeky pint in before running for the last train to the ferry home.

What would be your last supper?

Try as I might I’ve never found something that could top my mum’s awesome Sunday roast chicken complete with all the trimmings.

Starter or pudding?

It would always have to be a starter - I especially love tapas, finger food and nibbles.

Do you have any food hates?

Mint and tuna. I’ve never been able to enjoy anything featuring either of these ingredients as I find them too overpowering, especially mint which I might be partially allergic to.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

The most important part of my dream dinner party would have to be the whisky to pair with each course. To start with: smoked salmon with the Arran 10 or 18 year old, then for the main course - fillet steak cooked rare with a Laphroaig Lore and a full spread cheese board complete with a Lagavulin 16. I would invite my favourite novelists and filmmakers, hoping to be able to give back to them all the joy and inspiration they’ve given me throughout the years. These would include Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, Emily St. John Mandel, Stanley Kubrick, Denis Villeneuve and David Lynch.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

My experience is probably more limited than others, but I did have a fantastic gastronomical time when I was visiting friends in Zaragoza Spain, dropping by every tapas bar and food vendor we could find as they were showing me their city. Wasn’t a usual tourist destination for a Brit but I just fell in love with Aragonese cuisine.

The first Lagg Single Malt will be released in late summer 2022,

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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