Chef’s Special: Kat Wardrop Executive chef, Macdonald Drumrossie Hotel, Inverness

Macdonald Drumrossie Hotel in Inverness is set in nine acres of parkland and is a popular weddings destination. The hotel’s restaurant has two AA Rosettes and offers modern Scottish cuisine, prepared using the freshest ingredients.

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

I started 17 years ago. My Dad was a head chef and asked me to help with a function.

What’s your career highlight so far?

Achieving this position. I’m loving every second of this role, with a great team at my side.

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

The biggest challenge is retaining good staff, and I feel this has been best achieved through leading the team by example. I will not ask them to do any job I wouldn’t do myself.

Describe your staff.

I am very fortunate with regard to the team I work with. They are young and enthusiastic, strive for perfection and love to learn. Plus they are all hard working and dedicated.

How would you describe your restaurant and its food?

The food is modern Scottish, using seasonal ingredients and a blend of modern and traditional techniques which let the food and flavours shine through.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?

I love venison. I love its richness and many of the flavours which work well with it are sweeter – which appeals to my sweet tooth!

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

I prefer just to have a nice plate of salad, cheese and cold meats. After a shift it’s nice to put together something tasty but easy!

Is there any food you dislike?

I think every food or ingredient has its place, but I’m not overly keen on broccoli. That said, in a puree with a fresh piece of halibut it’s beautiful.

What’s your favourite wine?

Malbec, mainly because it goes so well with venison.

What makes a good chef?

A good chef needs to be enthusiastic and passionate about food. I also think an understanding of costs is essential.

What’s a top tip every chef should know?

Taste everything, and never be afraid to ask a question.

What makes you laugh in the kitchen?

Kitchens are good fun to work in but chefs normally have a dark sense of humour which can take a bit of getting used to!

Who do you admire in the industry and why?

I admire the kitchen porters and the commis chefs because without grafters like them the work wouldn’t get done.

How do you relax outside of work?

I like gardening and walking my dog.

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

The Kitchin in Leith a couple of years ago. The food was great, and the atmosphere was just very relaxed.

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

I would invite my husband who is also a chef. My number one choice of venue would be The Fat Duck.