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An evening to remember

It's hard to write about last Saturday evening without name-dropping, but the Albert Roux Dinner 2012 at Queen Margaret University was an entirely extraordinary event. The excellence of the menu was guaranteed, with successive courses contributed by four top restaurants - Chardon d'Or, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond and Chez Roux at Greywalls, Gullane. The chefs and restaurants were ably assisted by hospitality students at Queen Margaret University in all aspects - preparation, cooking and service, which they carried off with aplomb. And the chefs sat down to have dinner with us!

Before we dined (in the totally transformed student canteen), we had champagne and superb canapés while mingling with celebrities and elaborately dressed characters wearing White Nights clothes created by QMU's Costume Design and Construction students. The costumes were also paraded in the short film performed by students of Drama and Performance. This truly was a multidisciplinary project on a grand scale.

Keir is Chair of the Court at QMU and has suggested inviting Sandy and Anna as our guests (in truth, this was a belated Christmas present). We enjoyed their company all evening, and when we peeled off at midnight, it emerged that they were going on to a late wedding party: they must have terrific stamina! Here they are at the start of the evening:


We were fortunate to have on our table Andrew Fairlie and his glamorous partner Kate Ritchie, who works at Gleneagles. Here they are both listening intently to Albert Roux, OBE and Legion d'Honneur:


It turns out that Andrew had known all his life what he wanted to do, having started out in the kitchens of the Perth Hotel while still at school, aged 14. I am always impressed by people who have this sharp focus and energy from an early age. By the time he was 20, he had already won the first Albert Roux scholarship and gone to train with Michel Guerard in Gascony. No wonder his restaurant has two Michelin stars. Since scallops are my favourite food of all time, I was thrilled with the fish course - Restaurant Andrew Fairlie's baked scallop with velvety champagne velouté. The loin of venison that followed was also memorable, I'm salivating even as I type.

The evening was rounded off with Albert Roux's speech. Despite being one of the world's best-known chefs, the great man seemed remarkably modest. He spoke warmly of the occasion, of his collaboration with QMU and of the students themselves. This photo isn't sharp, but flash would have been intrusive.



This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 16, 2012 8:29 PM.

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