Analysis

Michelin Star Scotland: Is it only a matter of time for St Andrews as famous hotels hire award-winning chefs

The famous seaside town in Fife is home to many great restaurants, but none have gained a coveted Michelin Star. Rosalind Erskine thinks the time has come, as two award-winning chefs take up roles in St Andrews hotels.

It’s hard to believe but arguably the most famous East Neuk town, St Andrews, doesn’t have a Michelin Star restaurant. Haar, by celebrated chef Dean Banks, and Seafood Ristorante are both mentioned in the Guide, but the university town is yet to be awarded a star.

Fife is home to excellent produce, as showcased in The Peat Inn, which has had a star for more than ten years, and The Cellar, which sadly closed its doors after ten years being run by Billy Boyter. Boyter was awarded and retained one star for his entire tenure at the cosy, historic restaurant.

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It was Boyter’s move to the Rusacks in St Andrews that started me wondering if St Andrews star potential may change. The calibre and quality of his cooking is known to inspectors, who will surely be interested in visiting to see what he’s doing with the three restaurants - 18, One Under and The Bridge.

It’s 18 that’s the jewel in the crown of the hotel, with its already refined, seasonal menu, buzzy cocktail bar and roof terrace overlooking the famous golf course. When I chatted to Boyter about his new role back in March, I asked if he’d been tasked with gaining a star for the hotel restaurants, something he maintained when head chef at Number One in The Balmoral hotel.

He said: “I think if it was something that they really, really wanted to do, I can't see why they couldn't achieve that. But when I came in, there was talk about pushing for accolades, which I like anyway, because I've never done that. It wasn’t a focus of The Cellar.”

Coalin Finn has joined the Old Course HotelCoalin Finn has joined the Old Course Hotel
Coalin Finn has joined the Old Course Hotel | Old Course Hotel

The news of Boyter’s move to Rusacks was swiftly followed by the Old Course Hotel announcing that Coalin Finn would be coming on board the resort’s new executive chef.

Finn is now heading up all kitchen functions across the resort’s eight restaurants and bars, including three AA Rosette Awarded Road Hole Restaurant and golf’s most famous pub – the Jigger Inn.

Bringing a wealth of experience from some of the UK’s finest establishments, Finn most recently headed up five-star hotel Claridge’s, London as the executive chef. Prior to this, Finn was head chef at the five-star Inverlochy Castle Hotel near Fort William, as well as working alongside Daniel Humm as part of the sous team at Davies and Brook, their first Michelin-starred restaurant outside America.

As well as creating a new, plant-based menu for the hotel spa, Finn will also be showcasing the region’s local produce, such as seafood, meat and vegetables. At the time of the announcement of his new role, Finn said: “I am honoured to join the exceptional team at Old Course Hotel and to showcase my contemporary interpretation of Scottish cuisine. With St. Andrews' rich culinary heritage and access to incredible local produce, I look forward to creating memorable dining experiences across the resort.”

Will those dining experiences be Michelin Star ones? We’ll need to wait to find out. But with these two top chefs at the helm of such luxury hotels, surely it is only a matter of time.

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