Tom Kitchin the Michelin man
Inspired by Scotland's impressive array of fresh produce, Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin has already made a huge impression on Scotland's culinary scene. Marcus Janssen speaks to him about his love of game.
'Game is great,' says Tom Kitchin with the type of passion that cannot be imitated. 'It is so plentiful, so good for you, there is so much flavour in it and each species has its own unique character. For me, it is something that we should be incredibly proud of in Scotland.' Less than a minute into our chat and already I knew that Tom and I were going to get along rather well.
Tom's culinary CV is truly impressive. He's worked with some of the best chefs in the world and at some of Europe's most iconic establishments, including Gleneagles Hotel, Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire in London (3 stars), Guy Savoy in Paris (3 stars) and Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monte Carlo (3 stars). And at the age of 29, only six months after opening his own eponymous restaurant, The Kitchin in Edinburgh, he was awarded a Michelin Star of his own. He remains the youngest Scottish chef ever to be awarded the prestigious accolade.
'I am inspired by ingredients, by produce,' he says. 'I knew Scotland had great produce, but only when I moved back here and opened my own restaurant, and started to source my own suppliers, did I really begin to appreciate how good it is. From shellfish to game, I really do believe that it is some of the best in the world.'
With such obvious enthusiasm for the larder of wild ingredients at his disposal, and such a wealth of experience and expertise, it is unsurprising that The Kitchin is fast becoming a favourite destination for game connoisseurs.
'We do a game tasting menu from October onwards,' he says. 'We'll do seven or eight game courses and people love it. But it's an incredible amount of work!'
Seasonality is central to Tom's culinary philosophy. 'It is seasonality that stops you from having too much of a good thing!' he laughs. 'I get so excited about the changing seasons and the new ingredients that they bring. I get particularly excited about the Glorious Twelfth. We go down to the shoots in the Borders and collect the grouse ourselves and serve them in the restaurant that night. People book a year in advance so that they can eat grouse on August 12.'
One look at Tom's game menu and it becomes abundantly clear why customers travel far and wide and book so far in advance. Roe deer carpaccio, game pithivier, hare cooked - la Royale, partridge jelly, loin of roe deer with potato terrine, autumn vegetables and a red wine sauce, terrine of game served with prunes, autumn fruits and vegetables... It's a game smorgasbord!
For a game recipe from Tom, click here