What’s your favourite ingredient?
I would have to choose Parmesan because of its versatility. I firmly believe that there aren’t many dishes that don’t benefit from a sprinkle of it. For me, it’s the perfect accompaniment to scrambled eggs.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
Ah, definitely the doughnuts from Bread Ahead or St. John in London.
Tell us about your first food memory
When I was unwell and off school, my mum used to take me to work with her – a cake shop called Celebration Station. I used to sit beneath the counter under a blanket watching everyone cooking while snacking on broken meringues. My mum also used to make me the best birthday cakes; my favourites were Thunderbirds and Treasure Island-themed showstoppers.
What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?
Since I arrived back in Scotland I’ve been doing some important research ahead of our launch this spring. I have spent my days off experiencing some of the best cafes, restaurants and bars that Edinburgh has to offer. My favourites so far are Borough in Leith and The Palmerston in the west end and Wellington Coffee on George Street is my go-to for amazing coffee.
What would be your last supper?
I would keep it simple and go for an aged cote du boeuf (chargrilled over fire) accompanied by triple cooked chips and a Bearnaise sauce.
Starter or pudding?
In my younger days it would have always been a starter for me, but as I get older, I am getting more partial to a pudding. On The Spence menu at Gleneagles Townhouse, we are going to have a delightful Scotch baba (a twist on the retro rum baba dessert, made with whisky instead of rum) served with praline sauce and a helping of mascarpone for two to share. It is quite special.
Do you have any food hates?
A persimmon fruit.
What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?
I would have to invite my closest friends and family for a Sunday lunch. We’d all gather around a roaring fire, and, for our main course, I’d serve honey glazed ham with all the trimmings; roasted carrots, cauliflower cheese, spring greens, mustard sauce, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. For dessert, we would have an apple strudel with both ice cream and custard, all topped off with a bottle of red wine.
What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?
I love the food in London, New York or India. However, if I had to pick just one, it would definitely be London – it’s where I began my career and has by far the most culinary diversity in the UK.
Due to open in spring 2022, Gleneagles Townhouse is located on St Andrew Square and is the first outpost for the iconic Perthshire hotel in its almost 100-year history.
For more information, visit www.gleneagles.com/townhouse/