What’s your favourite ingredient?
Walnut oil for salads and anything from my spice cupboard for curries. And wine, but not in the food, at least not the good stuff – such a waste.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
Roast garlic, a kipper, artichoke soup (but my wife hates it when I make it because the after effects are spontaneous and can last an entire night).
Tell us about your first food memory?
Getting a fish bone stuck in my throat. Hating everything unless it was a boiled sweet.
What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?
There are so many great places, but I have to give Rocpool in Inverness a nod for the flavours, inventiveness and the value. I always come away having had at least one ‘wow’ dish, they just don’t get it wrong.
What would be your last supper?
I can’t resist Scotch beef. My father used to take me into the butcher’s chiller in his shop and he would find something very black and sticky. If he could push his thumb into the carcass, then it had been hanging just long enough. I’d have a roast rib along with anything by Yotam Ottolenghi – his mustardy cauliflower cheese is unbelievably good and easy to make.
Starter or pudding?
I have a phenomenally sweet tooth, but I never make or particularly want pudding so I’d always go for a starter. Soup is a favourite, but I’d like to make more light fish dishes. I used to love oysters, but am now allergic. The last time I had one it was smoked and wrapped in bacon, I think they are called ‘angels in blankets’. Even that was too much and the reaction was impressive.
Do you have any food hates?
C**p potatoes. Blimey it’s a struggle to get good ones, but Rooster will usually do, King Edwards too. I grow Sharpes Express and Duke of York, but my Golden Wonders and Kerr’s Pinks are always a dreadful crop of marbles. Pathetically the best potatoes I grow are found in the compost, having seeded from waste.
What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?
The aforementioned Jerusalem artichoke soup, then perhaps a simple roast chicken with roast veg and creamy mash that has Philadelphia in it. Cheese to finish – none of mine, no way – St Agur, a rustique camembert, perhaps some Gruyere too and lots of Champagne, fine wines and port. For pudding it would be crème caramel or brulee. Guests? That’s tricky. I’ve lost a few friends recently and wouldn’t mind seeing them again. Then I suppose the list is much like anyone else’s, all the mundane figures from history that we’d love to meet – Jessica Lange, Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, Kim Bassinger, Sharon Stone, Sigourney Weaver from when she was in Alien – I could go on, but I’m beginning to lose focus.
What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?
India possibly followed by Italy – even the food on a train is good in Italy.
For more information on Tain-based Highland Fine Cheeses, who make Blue Murder and Morangie Brie, see