The historic five-star Gleneagles Hotel – described as “a Riviera in the Highlands” and “the eighth wonder of the world” when it opened in 1924 – plans to wow guests with a contemporary experience in the New Year with the launch of the Strathearn Series of guest chef dinners. Executive chef Simon Attridge has hand-picked four of the best upcoming talents, who will each join him for a monthly culinary collaboration starting in January and running until the end of April.
The stars, known for their creativity with seasonal produce, will co-create a six-course wine-paired menu for a dinner hosting just 12 guests at the chef’s table in the recently refurbished Strathearn restaurant. The interactive evening will begin with champagne and canapés, followed by a tour of the kitchen and wine room, with discussions of the dishes that will be prepared in front of diners. “I want this to be like a dinner party – to break down the barrier between the restaurant and the kitchen by inviting guests to join in the fun,” says Attridge, who is looking forward to working with the visitors. “It’s important to be open to continual learning, and collaborations are a fantastic way to share skills and knowledge while developing ideas.”
First to appear at the hotel (from January 27) will be Roberta Hall-McCarron, winner of the Young British Foodies Awards (YBFs) in 2018 and chef-patron of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh. Her menu will be finalised to take advantage of the best produce of the month, but guests can expect dishes such as Scottish langoustine and scallop with Jerusalem artichoke purée and shellfish bisque, while Attridge will contribute a sumptuous sounding Grierson Farm chicken cooked with celeriac and apple, crispy chicken and birch syrup.
On February 10, Paul Graham of Edinburgh’s Sonder – one of the new culinary hotspots in the city – and previously of Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous three Michelin-starred London restaurant, will join Attridge at the pass, followed by Scott Smith of Edinburgh venue Fhior on March 22. Smith may well offer something different for his residency given that dining at Fhior involves a “tailored experience” with customers only receiving their menus after they have eaten (although guests at the Gleneagles dinner will not be blind-tasting the cuisine). Finally Sam Carter of Restaurant Twenty Two in Cambridge will showcase his take on seasonal Scottish fare, “done simply with a creative twist”, on April 27. Each of the aforementioned chefs will only complete their menus once they have selected their ingredients – as Carter formerly of Maze and Hambleton Hall says, “my dishes are reactive to what’s happening on the outside and with our producers at that given moment.”
The gastronomic getaway, which includes an overnight stay in a country room with breakfast and dinner for two guests, is priced £500 for the experiences taking place from January to March, and £550 from April.