Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.
Food and Drink

Hairy Biker Si King says north-east ‘holds a very special place’ in his heart and reflects on memories here ahead of Taste of Grampian

As I caught up with Hairy Biker, Si King – who is headlining this year's Taste of Grampian – it's undeniable that he adores our beautiful slice of Scotland, the north-east.
Karla Sinclair
Si King. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Si King. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

“It could be said that the Hairy Bikers was born in the north-east of Scotland,” Si King tells me, and I can’t help but smile.

The celebrity chef is reflecting on treasured memories in our part of the world that he shared with his dear friend Dave Myers, who sadly died in February this year at the age of 66.

Dave and Si found fame together as the Hairy Bikers, and quickly bonded over a shared passion of motorbikes.

The duo won the hearts of the nation through the decades with their irresistible enthusiasm, easy-going approach to cookery, and inspirational use of ingredients from around the globe.

Si first visited the north-east more than 30 years ago. Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Having spent the most part of 15 years living in Huntly, Dave adored the north-east and its food and drink scene – and was very open about it.

In an interview with the Press and Journal in 2019, he said his heart belonged here.

Castle Avenue, Huntly. Image: Mairi Innes

As I caught up with Si, who is one of the headline chefs at this year’s highly-anticipated Taste of Grampian, it was undeniable that he too cherishes our beautiful slice of Scotland.

Where in the north-east does Hairy Biker Si King have his treasured memories with Dave?

It has been three decades since Si first graced the north-east to pay Dave a visit in… you guessed it, Huntly.

The Square in Huntly, pictured in 2022. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

“I rode up on a slightly dodgy motorcycle,” he recalls.

“We went to places like Portessie, Elgin, Findlater Castle, Peterhead and Inverurie.

“Keith and Dufftown weren’t too far away and nor was the Glenfiddich Distillery, so there were a few sore heads on those occasions.

Glenfiddich Distillery. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson
Si and Dave loved a dram.

“We also loved going up to Sandend and Buckie. We used to buy our wet fish from Eat Mair Fish, Buckie.”

In usual fashion for the Hairy Biker, Si immersed himself in the local food and drink scene.

He associates seafood, whisky, craft beer and, of course, the rowie/buttery with the region above all.

Si is a big seafood fan. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Si added: “I may be stating the obvious, but goodness me they’re worth celebrating and shouting about!

“The whole area has come a long way since I first visited. There seems to be a recognition of the quality produce of the area and a celebration in bringing it to the marketplace.

“One mustn’t forget that the character of an area is defined by its people, its landscapes and its produce, all of which the north-east has in beautiful abundance.

“The light and skies in that part of the world are so good for your soul.

“It will always always have a very special place in my heart.”

How would you describe a buttery? Si’s take trumps the lot

When I asked celebrity chef, author and TV personality Nadiya Hussain MBE for her take on north-east delicacy, the humble buttery, I realised I’d introduced her to a whole new world.

Nadiya Hussain.

Nadiya, who is also headlining Taste of Grampian 2024, had never heard of the salty pastry prior.

Si, on the other hand, is all too familiar with the savoury treat, which is also referred to as a rowie.

He said: “I do remember vividly the first time I had a buttery.

Butteries. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

“I remember thinking it was like a croissant that would kick your head in and relished the opportunity to have it warm, smeared with even more butter and with a scraping of marmite on it – what’s not to love?”

Marmite on a buttery? I’ll need to give that a try.

Taste of Grampian: what to expect from Hairy Biker, Si King

Moving on to future endeavours – and butteries aside – Si is thrilled about making his return to the north-east’s favourite indoor foodie experience, Taste of Grampian.

It is taking place on Saturday, June 1 at P&J Live near Dyce.

Banner for Taste of Grampian featuring Nadiya Hussain and Si King.

He last appeared at the 21st edition in 2022, headlining alongside James Martin.

Nadiya will be a familiar face for Si, as he went on to tell me the pair are “old friends”.

“I’m very much looking forward to catching up with her,” he adds.

“She’s a talented, creative woman and we always have a laugh when we see each other.”

The Hairy Biker has a fun-filled day ahead, hosting two cooking demonstrations, two book signings, and running a Q&A session on the main stage.

Si cooking up a storm at Taste of Grampian 2022. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Both cooking demonstrations will take place upstairs in the atrium area at noon and 2pm.

The first is focusing on a recipe for beef and kidney bean fessenan, while the second is a pork steaks with grapes and mustard recipe.

Acclaimed chef looks forward to ‘having a giggle’ with eventgoers and celebrating the region once again

“It [Taste of Grampian] is a massive celebration of the region filled with like-minded people with innovative ideas to highlight their region’s identity, character, produce and warmth,” Si said.

The talent enjoyed taking selfies with fans when he last headlined.

“The main highlights on an occasion like Taste of Grampian is always the people for me – having the chance to walk round and have a craic on and a bit of a laugh and a giggle with everybody.

“Then, if that wasn’t enough, the food and drink is nothing short of epic!”

If he gets the chance before, during or after the event, I asked what he’d like to tuck into most.

“Well, I’m always keen to try a dram (but that goes without saying),” he replied.

“As well as the smoked salmon and the innovative smoking techniques that come from this part of the world.

He is hoping to enjoy some smoked salmon during his trip to P&J Live.

“The meat producers in this region are equally pioneering so I’m really looking forward to seeing how creative they’ve been since I was last there. There’s also a great culture of kitchen gardens which never ceases to surprise me.”

Si King featuring in an episode of This Morning. Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Finally, I asked Si how things have been since the tragic death of Dave.

He said: “It’s been a very difficult time for everyone who knew and loved Dave and it’s a great loss to everyone who was close to him.”

Ticket information

The title sponsor for this year’s Taste of Grampian is Marks and Spencer.

Early bird tickets for admission are on sale on Ticketmaster, priced at £12.50 (plus a £1 booking fee) and children under 12 go free.

Banner for Taste of Grampian featuring Nadiya Hussain and Si King.

Parking in the underground car park on-site at P&J Live is also free.

Si King’s demonstrations are £20 (plus a £1.50 booking fee).