A South Uist chef has been named Young Highland Chef of 2015 after coming a close second last year.
David MacDonald, of Iochdar, beat off competition from nine other aspiring chefs from throughout the country to win the prestigious title.
Mr MacDonald, 25, took part in the contest’s live final at Burghfield House in Dornoch on Monday night, where he and other competitors cooked in front of a panel of expert judges, including Albert Roux.
He will now enjoy a week’s work experience at the Roux family’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, La Gavroche, as well as taking home the trophy and £500 prize money.
Mr MacDonald, a sous chef at the New Drumossie Hotel in Inverness, produced the winning meal.
His winning menu included crab and pearl barley risotto, roast crab claw, smoked eel and parsley mascarpone for the starter; loin of venison, boulangerie potato, caramelised onion puree, confit shallots, charred leeks, burnt onion and juniper jus for the main and vanilla custard, apple compote, toffee apple, cinnamon, shortbread and coffee for the sweet.
Mr MacDonald said: “Having come second in the previous year’s competition, I was determined to win this year.
“I wasn’t so nervous for this year’s competition as I have learnt so much in the last year and felt more comfortable with this year’s brief. As soon as the brief was out I knew straight away what my menu would look like.”
MR Roux said: “Young Highland Chef 2015 has without doubt seen unprecedented success. Entries were at a record level and choosing the finalists from the written entries was particularly difficult as the standard was extremely high. Thought had gone into the dishes, with flavours and presentation of the highest order.
Other judges included Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel; Brian Maule of Chardon d’Or in Glasgow; Steven Docherty of The First Floor Café in Windermere; Glen Watson of The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield and Derek Johnstone from The Golf Inn in Gullane, East Lothian.
The Young Highland Chef competition, now in its sixth year, is organised by North Highland College UHI’s Burghfield House training restaurant and the Albert Roux Consultancy.
Michael Golledge, 23, of Grandview House in Grantown-on-Spey came second in the competition, winning £250 and a week’s work experience at The RAC Club in London. Thomas Wright, 23, from the Coul House Hotel in Contin took the third spot, receiving £100.