Chef’s Special: Scott Davies, Head chef, The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

Scott Davies, head chef at The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye, creates dishes which reflect and celebrate the ingredients native to Skye and beyond. The eatery has held three AA Rosettes continuously for 18 years.

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

I have always enjoyed cooking at home. When I was 15, I did a two-week work experience through my school at a local hotel in south Wales. I was hooked! I started catering college at the age of 16 and, two years later, took a job as a kitchen assistant. I’ve been cooking professionally for 13 years.

What’s your career highlight so far?

Gaining three AA Rosettes in 2012 as head chef at the Rusacks Hotel, at the age of 26. And getting to the 2013 final of BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals.

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

A better work-life balance for me and my brigade. Still working on this!

How would you describe your restaurant and its food?

The restaurant is a beautiful converted croft house, which keeps a lot of the character. The food is all about the Isle of Skye larder and what Scotland has to offer. We let the ingredients talk for themselves, with a few twists along the way.

Describe your staff

My staff are hardworking, friendly, happy and passionate about what they do here. They respect and feel privileged to work with the best ingredients and local suppliers in the world.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?

There are so many to choose from, but a few favourites include locally-foraged mushrooms, berries and herbs; and all shellfish. The local herbs, salads and vegetables are grown just a couple of miles away and that, in itself, is amazing.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

A roast dinner, with local meat and vegetables. Can’t beat it!

Is there any food you dislike?

After working here for nearly three years, I have moved away from using strong herbs like rosemary, lavender, basil, sage, lovage, etc. I dislike cruel process, so would never use foie gras, for example.

What’s your favourite wine?

German Mosel Riesling. I also had some brilliant American Riesling recently and Canadian ice wine.

What makes a good chef?

Hard work, team work, passion and remembering always that you cook for your customer and not yourself.

What’s a top tip every chef should know?

When you come up with a new dish, eat the whole dish. You really get a better idea about the balance. You can’t cook the best without using the best and freshest ingredients.

What makes you laugh at work?

You always get a good laugh with the suppliers. Straight talk, direct answers – especially the fishermen and farmers.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?

Sat Bains, Thomas Keller and Massimo Bottura. I admire their passion and creativity.

How do you relax outside of work?

I spend time with my wife Charlotte, tending to our ducks and garden.

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

My wife and I had the best culinary journey at Ynyshir Hall with chef Gareth Ward. Welsh ingredients cooked with Japanese influence; truly breathtaking.

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

I would invite my wife, as time together is precious, and I would love to go to Iceland as I find Nordic food really exciting.