En­joy the real chefs’ spe­cials

Smoke­house hailed as top cooks re­veal se­cret in­gre­di­ents

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - FOOD - By Laura Smith la­smith@sun­day­post.com

THE meth­ods are slow, tra­di­tional and very, very smoky but they have se­cured a Scots food firm a pres­ti­gious Golden Fork.

Staff at In­ver­awe Smoke­house are cel­e­brat­ing af­ter their smoked trout was hailed at the Great Taste Awards, the food in­dus­try’s Os­cars.

It was the only prod­uct from north of the Bor­der to be placed in the top 50 in­gre­di­ents of 2017, while the Ar­gyll smoke­house took home the award for Scot­tish Pro­ducer of the Year.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Patrick Camp­bell- Pre­ston said: “My fa­ther first started smok­ing our trout us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods in 1982. It re­mains our sig­na­ture prod­uct.”

The Taynuilt business was launched with just one smoke­box af­ter Patrick’s dad, trout farm owner Robert, re­alised smok­ing his fish would be a good in­vest­ment.

To­day, it’s one of the big­gest mail or­der smoke­houses in Scot­land, with a global cus­tomer base stretch­ing from Peru to Sin­ga­pore.

Patrick be­lieves its suc­cess is down to the time-hon­oured method of “slow- cook­ing” smok­ing.

While the av­er­age mass pro­ducer smokes a fish for six hours, In­ver­awe Smoke­house likes to take things a lit­tle more slowly.

Patrick said: “It’s a fair bet we smoke our fish for longer than any­where else in the world.

“We use whole logs of wind­blown Scot­tish oak, rather than chips or saw­dust in our old-style brick smoke­houses.

“Us­ing logs gives a gen­tle, creamy smoke but it takes time for that to pen­e­trate the fish so we can smoke them for up to 72 hours.

“It’s to­tally reliant on the trained smoker to know when it’s ready.

“No fish comes out at the same time.”

This method is what gives the trout its rich, deep, full­bod­ied flavour.

To en­sure the finest fare, the com­pany uses sus­tain­able trout farmed along the west coast of Scot­land.

While most of us au­to­mat­i­cally reach for smoked salmon in the su­per­mar­ket, Patrick ar­gues trout de­serves equal recog­ni­tion.

He added: “Trout is a very un­der­stated fish that I’ve found re­ally catches the at­ten­tion of the chefs.

“When I put our smoked salmon and trout on the same plate, 60% will go back to the trout be­cause they are blown away by the taste.

“Many peo­ple as­so­ciate trout with big­ger por­tions and mainly these are from land- locked trout but sea­grown trout has a com­pletely dif­fer­ent depth and most amaz­ing flavour.”

Other Scot­tish in­gre­di­ents to re­ceive a three- star rat­ing at the Great Taste Awards in­clude Tay­berry & Sage Vine­gar by The Lit­tle Herb Farm in St An­drews and Green Pep­per Veni­son Salami from Great Glen Char­cu­terie in Roy Bridge, In­ver­ness-shire.

Here, The Sun­day Post speaks to some of Scot­land’s lead­ing chefs to dis­cover the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent in their kitchen cup­board.

■ Jak O’Don­nell with a jar of Egyp­tian spice Dukkah in her res­tau­rant last week.

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