Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year announced

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The winner of the Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year Competition has been announced as Nico Simeone from the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh.

The 20-year-old beat five other finalists to claim the title. The competition took place at the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine, Newliston.


The winner of the Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year Competition has been announced as Nico Simeone from the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh.

The 20-year-old beat five other finalists to claim the title. The competition took place at the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine, Newliston.

Nico said:

“I am really chuffed to win in the face of such stiff competition, and thrilled to be the Young Seafood Chef of the Year because I have a passion for seafood!” he said.

Nico’s winning dishes were:

Ceviche of mackerel, avocado puree and langoustine beignet Halibut with soft parmesan polenta, fricassee of asparagus, peas and morel, soft boiled quail’s egg and crisp Serrano ham

Nico received a specially commissioned trophy and a bottle of champagne, a trip to Lyon in January 2011 to see the world’s top chefs in action at the Bocuse d’Or competition, a week’s work experience at Ondine with seafood chef Roy Brett, and the opportunity to cook a meal for the First Minister and guests at a seafood celebration dinner. He was also presented with a Federation of Chefs Scotland Gold Medal, which is only awarded to competitors in international competition scoring more than 90 marks.

First runner up Adam Newth, from The Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews and second runner up Stuart Ritchie, Marine Hotel, Troon, were presented with silver medals from the Federation.

The panel of judges, headed by Ian MacDonald, St Andrew’s Links, and Vice President of the Federation of Chefs Scotland, also included Roy Brett and David Murray, Houston House. They judged finalists on their imagination in choice of recipe ingredients, use of seasonal Scottish produce, and skill in preparation, cooking and presentation.

Ian MacDonald said:

“The quality of the entries was very high and it is great to see such enthusiasm for seafood cookery. We had a difficult job today, but there was a worthy winner and I wish him luck in his career.”

The six chefs cooked a seafood starter and main course dish using species chosen from a list of Scottish seafood that included salmon, Gigha halibut and mussels for one course, and mackerel, haddock and langoustine for another.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The competition recognises and encourages the skill, talent and innovation which we have in our hospitality sector. Our restaurants, hotels and cafes are an integral part of our drive to further improve our international reputation as a land of food and drink.”

Sarah Holmyard, Seafood Scotland Marketing Executive, said the competition had generated considerable interest from chefs in colleges, hotels and restaurants throughout the country.

She said:

“It is part of a wider package of measures designed to encourage greater consumption of Scottish seafood, and working with young chefs is an effective way to do that,” she said. “We are delighted to welcome Nico Simeone as our new Seafood Chef of the Year and look forward to working with him over the coming months to promote sustainable Scottish seafood.”

The six finalists were:

  • Nico Simeone, The Balmoral, Edinburgh
  • Jamie McDiarmid – Turnberry, Troon
  • Adam Newth – The Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews
  • Martin Carabott – Gleneagles, Perthshire
  • Gavin Fitzpatrick – Malmaison Glasgow
  • Stuart Ritchie – The Marine Hotel, Troon

Seafood Scotland works throughout the supply chain to promote, market and develop responsibly and sustainably caught Scottish seafood. Seafood Scotland is the delivery partner for Seafish in Scotland.

The Federation of Chefs Scotland is a not for profit organisation that raises funds to support industry in Scotland. They operate and fund the Scottish culinary teams who represent Scotland at international culinary competitions.