Chef’s Special: Stewart Macaulay, Head chef, The Adamson, St Andrews

The Adamson opened in 2012 in the former home of Dr John Adamson – a physician and pioneering mid-19th century photographer. Inspired by classic brasserie cuisine, the restaurant’s menus major in local seasonal produce.

How long have you been in the industry and how did you start?

I’ve been in the industry for 16 years. I started as a KP, transferred to front of house, before moving into the kitchen in 2004. My first job was as a commis chef at the Carnoustie Hotel, then Cameron House as a CDP under the direction of Paul Tamburrini, before I moved to the Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews as a demi CDP under the direction of Craig Millar. After a short period at the Old Course Hotel, I was a junior sous and promoted to senior sous at Rocca in St Andrews, under the direction of Scott Davies. My first role as head chef was at the Fairmont Esperante in St Andrews, before I joined the Adamson in 2015 as head chef.

What’s your career highlight so far?

I’ve had three highlights: I was selected as a contestant for BBC MasterChef The Professionals in 2017; I received three AA Rosettes as part of the team at Rocca; and I was appointed head chef at the Adamson and achieved two AA Rosettes.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

A few years ago, I had a very serious fall, resulting in a coma, with the possibility of not being able to walk again. The biggest challenge was rehabilitation over a lengthy period.

How would you describe your restaurant and its food?

Our passion is to create a memorable dining experience through excellence in quality, locally-sourced food and standard of service. We’re proud to be regarded as an excellent casual dining restaurant, providing guests with a relaxed environment, and a price point which is acceptable to a wide audience.

Describe your staff

Our staff are a credit to The Adamson. They are hard-working and loyal; most importantly, they are proud to deliver a high quality product to our guests.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?

It’s hard to be selective from such a wide range of delicious ingredients available in Scotland’s larder. We have great provenance in our beef and fish, and, where possible, select sustainable produce with seasonal influence.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

I have most fun and love cooking at home with my little girls, whose favourite is fresh pizzas and cupcakes. My partner and I are looking forward to our new baby later this year, and it will be a pleasure to see how the home menu develops.

Is there any food you dislike?

Ginger and coriander are not to my taste, but I still use them in our restaurant menu.

What’s your favourite wine?

Depending on the mood and occasion, I love a glass of red. Malbec is a consistent option at most venues.

What makes a good chef?

To be self-motivated, open-minded, passionate, focused, to thrive working within a team, and proud to deliver excellence to their restaurant guests.

What makes you laugh in the kitchen?

My team – we have fun, which keeps everyone motivated in a busy kitchen environment.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?

Tom Kitchin in Edinburgh. He is a young man, who has consistently and progressively sought perfection in food standards. He is also an excellent communicator and a credit to our industry.

How do you relax outside of work?

Spending time with my family – my fiancé, our two girls – and, having recently moved house, creating a room for our new baby’s arrival.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had and where was it?

The starter of scallops at Castle Terrace Restaurant in Edinburgh.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?

My ideal dinner colleagues would be people who make me laugh – Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle. To ensure we could enjoy laughter in a relaxed environment, I would go to a great gastro pub.