Skye restaurateur is crowned top Highland food ambassador

• Shirley Spear at the awards.
• Shirley Spear at the awards.

THE co-founder of Skye restaurant The Three Chimneys has been singled out as a top representative of the country’s food and drink industry.
Shirley Spear, who founded The Three Chimneys with husband Ed in the 1980s, was presented the Ambassador of the Year Award at the recent Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards in Inverness.
As well as celebrating its 30th anniversary, the business recently secured a Michelin star.
Spear told SLTN that the Scottish restaurant scene has changed dramatically since the early days of The Three Chimneys.
“There’s so many fantastic new businesses operating throughout the Highlands and Islands now that just weren’t there even five or ten years ago, and they’re all becoming really successful,” she said. “The Three Chimneys has won lots of awards over the years, but when you’re recognised by your peers that’s often the most humbling, loveliest thing. I just want to work hard for them in return.”
Other winners at the event included Cairngorm Brewery, which scooped the Best Drink Award; Dalwhinnie Distillery, which won the Best Marketing Initiative Award; and the Station Road restaurant at Fort Augustus hotel The Lovat, which took the title of Restaurant of the Year.
Stephen Rankin, director of title sponsor Gordon & MacPhail and chair of the judging panel, said he had been “hugely impressed” by the standard of the entries.
“Their quality and diversity acts as a showcase for the Highlands and Islands – a region rightly renowned for the quality of its produce,” said Rankin.