Our new Head Chef Richard Young has arrived at Loch Melfort Hotel. Heading up our delicious Bistro and Restaurant, he has been working hard to put his own twist on things and create a menu to die for. In this interview we get to hear all about Richard’s focus on simplistic, flavoursome styles and his love for local produce.
1. Where did you start your culinary career?
I started my cooking career in the North east of England at Swallow Hotels. From the age of 16 I was in a busy, vibrant environment, which set me on my way. I stayed with the company to do my cooking qualifications.
2. What was it that attracted you to Loch Melfort and the opportunity to cook for our customers?
Location was key. Have you seen the view!? I need to feel settled where I am. I love the West of Scotland and have spent over half my life North of the border. To begin with, I arrived to assist the current team. Then the opportunity arose to take charge and I was already very impressed with Calum and Rachel as owners. They are the kind of people who are great to work alongside and bring out the best in us all collectively. They have passion and attention to detail and always aim to use as much local produce as possible. It felt like a good fit.
3. Where do you get your cooking inspiration from?
My mum. She would come home on her lunch break to semi-prepare dinner, which I would complete on returning from school. When she got home it was good to go. We had great food on reflection; casseroles, one-pot dishes (all fresh). It’s only looking back that I realised how fortunate I was. She’s still a great cook! Best biscuits ever too!
4. What is your favourite cuisine?
I have varied tastes, so I think it’s easier to say what I DON’T like. As an English man, I’m ashamed to say I don’t like tea. Tripe and tinned anchovies too! I like simple, present food and flavours, regardless of which ever country them may come from. Fresh, personal, seasonal produce if possible.
5. Name 3 essential ingredients that you can’t live without.
Butter, eggs and fresh cut herbs.
6. What is your signature dish?
The ‘signature dish’ question is a Chef’s most awkward question. It’s easy to ask a musician what their most famous song is, or what their signature song is. We change our menus so regularly that we tend to move on. That being said, I really like the scallop dish on our new A La Carte Menu. It ticks a good few boxes.
7. What can we expect from your menus at Loch Melfort Hotel?
The aim is to produce precisely cooked and well-presented food, using seasonal produce where possible. Simplicity is important; not too many components allow the main ingredients to shine through. It’s all about flavour and enjoyable dining experiences. Scotland has a great larder, and I intend to use it.
8. If you could recommend one dish on our current menu to our customers, which one would it be and why?
From the current menu, I would recommend all of them of course but if I had to choose just one, I would say the ‘Catch of the Day’. For me it’s great to offer a different freshly caught fish every day and our guests look forward to finding out what it is going to be. However, as I said, menus change and are a work in progress, so my choice will probably change frequently!
Has our interview left you feeling hungry? Take a look at our sample a la carte menu and bistro menu and get in touch with our team to reserve you a table. Our kitchen sources from local Argyll suppliers and our talented team ensure ingredients are as fresh as possible and cooked to the highest standards.