TWO Scottish restaurants have entered the UK’s “foodie bible” for the first time after being awarded the highest accolade in the industry.
The Isle of Eriska, in Argyll, and The Three Chimneys in Skye have each been awarded one Michelin star – joining a small group of elite restaurants singled out yesterday in the latest Michelin Guide to be published.
The prestigious guide is considered to be the pinnacle of restaurant ratings.
But while two of Scotland’s most famous eateries are celebrating as newcomers, another two have lost out after years of having the coveted Michelin star.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel, near Fort William, is a favourite haunt of royalty, celebrities and leading politicians, but the loss of a star will come as a major blow for the luxury Highland hotel, which has held the honour continuously from 1998 and for two earlier spells, between 1994-1996 and 1982-1990.
It is joined by Glenapp Castle, at Ballantrae in South Ayrshire, in losing its one-star status.
Elsewhere in Scotland, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles retained its two stars – meaning it remains the best-rated restaurant north of the Border.
Thirteen other fine-dining establishments across Scotland retained their coveted one star, with five one-starred restaurants in Edinburgh alone.
Bepto Buchanan-Smith, who took over ownership of the Isle of Eriska, a favourite of Dame Judi Dench, from his parents in 1992, was delighted with the award.
He said: “This is a great recognition for everyone who has worked here for the last 40 years. My parents started in 1973 and we have built up a reputation of using local produce in our restaurant. Our chef Ross Stovold joined us 18 months ago from another Michelin restaurant.
“Ross is absolutely passionate about using the produce around the house, from the sea and the hills. The reason he came here was to use our natural larder.”
For many, the award for The Three Chimneys has been a long time coming.
Chef Michael Smith said: “We have won many accolades over the years, but this is special. I am still a bit shell-shocked.
“We have always strived to produce quality local food and this is a fantastic recognition.
“It is a great confidence boost which will inspire young Scottish people to stay in the Highlands and rural areas and pursue a career in food.”
Staff at nearby Kinloch Lodge on Skye were also celebrating after retaining their Michelin star for the fifth year.
The hotel and restaurant is still very much a family operation and Isabella Macdonald, the hotel’s general manager, said: “Our guests’ desire for and interest in good food gets greater every year and, for foodies, the Michelin star system is probably the most respected accolade.
“We we are all delighted to have retained our star for the fifth consecutive year.”
Marcello Tully took over the reins as head chef from owner Lady Claire Macdonald in 2007 and has built on her reputation to develop Kinloch Lodge into a popular gastronomic destination.
Lady Claire, now a food writer, added: “To have The Three Chimneys and Eriska join the Michelin set-up is fantastic for Scotland. The more Scotland gets, the better. The judgment by Michelin is the most rigorous, visiting anonymously three or four times a year.
“This is the highest accolade. People not only look at Scotland as a country which produces the best ingredients in the world, but increasingly the best chefs.”
There are 14 new stars across the UK in the 2015 guide. The Treby Arms, owned by MasterChef 2012 winner Anton Piotrowski, is one of three new pubs to gain a star.
The guide’s editor, Rebecca Burr, said: “The 14 new stars in our 2015 guide highlight the enormous richness and variety of the UK’s restaurant scene.”