Chef’s special: Ross Cochrane

Ross Cochrane, Head chef, Udny Arms Hotel, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire

Ross Cochrane, Head chef, Udny Arms Hotel, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire

The Udny Arms Hotel in Aberdeenshire majors in local produce. Dating from 1860, the hotel is claimed to be the birthplace of the sticky toffee pudding.

How long have you been in the catering business?
I’ve been working as a chef for the past ten years, since I was 18, but before that I worked as a kitchen porter from the age of 12, so I have always been in the kitchen.

What’s your career highlight so far?
Being part of the staff at Malmaison Aberdeen from the start. Watching it grow and working my way up from the bottom to sous chef was a great experience.

How would you describe your food?
Traditional Scottish, country house-style food with a city centre influence.

What’s the price of a typical three course meal?

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
It’s hard to find a place that uses local produce to the high standard we do.

Describe your staff.
They are all extremely passionate and always willing to learn.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Chicken Ballotine and homemade gnocchi.

What’s your favourite wine?

Is there any food you dislike?
I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms and tomatoes. Unfortunately I’m also allergic to shellfish.

What is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
Rocca in St Andrews.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Wild garlic, it’s very versatile, the only downside is it’s only available for a short period of time from the start of June.

What makes a good chef?
Hard work, dedication and passion is key but also to not be scared of failing. A good palate is of course paramount.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
Always keep a note of things you learn throughout your career, you never know when you might need to call upon them.

How do you relax outside of work?
I try and go out with friends and get away from work. I also go to the gym when I can.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?
Jeff Bingham from Rules of Engagement. I think his character would be a great laugh and we would go to an American-style bar or diner.