Glasgow Cuisine
- Glasgow Restaurateurs Association

Restaurant Gamba

Glasgow Restaurateurs Association
The Glasgow Restaurateurs Association was launched one year ago and has proved a great success. The first chairman was Ferrier Richardson, one of Scotland`s renowned chefs, who launched his new Glasgow restaurant Eurasia in 1999. He has acted as culinary ambassador for Scotland at events across Europe and North America, most notably the Scotsfest celebrations of Scottish culture, food and drink, which took place each January from 1997 to 1999 in New York city. Ferrier Richardson is also the editor of the two Glasgow on a Plate books and others in the series.

There are now 40 members of the GRA, each restaurant having to be listed in two out of three top food guides in order to qualify: Michelin; Good Food Guide, or AA Restaurant Guide. As part of the 1st birthday celebrations in April, eighteen representatives of the members competed in the annual waiters` race, where men in the traditional French uniform of bow ties, waistcoats and long white aprons run around Royal Exchange Square in the city centre, carrying a silver salver with plastic tumblers and bottles of water. The winner was Ken Owen from Rogano, the popular seafood restaurant serving such classic dishes such as Smoked Salmon, Halibut au gratin and Lobster Thermidor.

Restaurant Gamba
This year`s chairman of the GRA is Alan Tomkins, owner of Gamba, specialising in the best of Scottish seafood, as well as steaks, poultry and vegetarian dishes always on the menu. Gamba was voted the Spirit of Glasgow Restaurant of the Year, at the annual GRA awards in late 2000, two years since its opening. At the time he knew it was a risky venture, competing with the long held tradition and popularity of Rogano.

"The competition has increased dramatically in Glasgow but that has helped to increase standards. Everyone has had to pull their socks up" admits Tomkins.

Head chef and partner at Gamba is Derek Marshall who is equally thrilled at the success of the fish restaurant. He too thought they were taking a bit of a chance as not everyone is partial to fish but two years on, Marshall believes that with people travelling abroad they now have more sophisticated tastes;

"They go on holiday to the Mediterranean or further afield and try different fish like sea bass or snapper both of which we cook here. They come to eat at a fish restaurant to bring back holiday memories".

And if you can`t visit Gamba in Glasgow in the near future, you can experience one of their recipes - Smoked Salmon Omelette. Derek Marshall believes that fish should be cooked very quickly and delicately. "Fish has got to be kept really simple, you should never overpower it."

Malmaison Restaurant A special spirit of Glasgow Lifetime achievement award went to Ken McCulloch, the dynamic property entrepreneur who founded the ultra-chic Malmaison hotel and restaurant chain, starting in Edinburgh and Glasgow and then slowly developing across England. McCulloch is now expanding his empire and recently opened Columbus in the glamourous hotspot, Monte Carlo.

Meanwhile back at West George Street, Richard Miller, the Head chef at Malmaison (under Executive chef, Roy Brett), is full of enthusiasm for its unique style and ambience and thrives on the fast pace Brasserie environment. "The food here has its origins deeply rooted in traditional French Brasseries, but then we interpret the dishes and the cooking techniques in a much more contemporary style, always using the freshest of seasonal produce, changing the menus throughout the year to mirror that ethos. We aim to provide real food of a consistently high quality at an affordable price." Like this recipe for Pan Fried Sea Bream.

Loop Continuing the theme of contemporary Glasgow Cuisine, here is a recipe for Macallan`s Chocolate pudding. This is from the restaurant Loop and devised by Donald Angus Munro. Just like many others before him, a dedicated commitment to learning the job the hard way has now paid off.

"I started out when I got a summer job working in a kitchen and got a real buzz out of it. The theatre of it all. I didn`t go back to school and went to college to study Food Technology. My first job was at the RAC club where the hours were long but a good grounding and classical training. I moved around various five star establishments ending up as Executive Head Chef at Skibo Castle!.

"Two years ago I met an old friend in London and we discussed opening a restaurant, to combine my experience with his philosophy of keeping it simple. Loop opened in July 1999 with a second Loop in August 2000. We want the restaurant to be an informal and friendly environment."

Munro admits to looking through his mother`s old traditional Scottish recipes and in fact the Chocolate Pudding came from his grandmother. He just added the Macallan!

Next page > One Devonshire Gardens > Page 1, 2, 3.

This feature was written by travel writer Vivien Devlin. .

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