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Jamie, a Masterchef

TV success changed his life

Jamie Scott (far right) on parade with other Fife-based chefs

 

 

OK, small quiz. Name two things that Arbroath is famous for. One, smokies (haddock) and two Arbroath FC where, if you kick the ball hard enough at one side of the ground it will end up in the North Sea. Now, however, there is a third, Jamie Scott (pictured, back row, second left). He’s in the culinary stratosphere thanks to his victory in the 2014 BBC Masterchef Professionals. This Glasgow-born chef used to be able to walk around his local supermarket without being noticed. He was a normal shopper, not any more. Success on the small screen has made him into a huge local celebrity. Now he’s in the big time and he’s also an Ambassador for Scottish beef. There can’t be a much higher verbal accolade than that given by Masterchef Judge Gregg Wallace. He said: “I can’t watch Jamie cook without smiling. He delivers over and over again.” Simply, Jamie’s love of cooking comes smiling through. His cooking roots are deep and he took his initial inspiration from his mum, who was a renowned head chef in Edinburgh and worked for the British Ambassador in Berlin, and his grannie, a keen baker. He went to college, then worked all over Britain and Spain before coming to Arbroath, then Dundee and now St Andrews where the 27-year-old received fantastic support from bosses at St Andrews-based Rocca (Scottish food with Italian influences) where he is head chef during the gruelling Masterchef series. It may have catapulted Jamie into the big time but it doesn’t show. He is unassuming and affable and more than willing to talk about his life and the series. Where does he go from here as Mastermind, for many, is considered the pinnacle? Jamie admitted he grew in confidence during the filming but admitted there was real pressure. “At first I was really nervous,” he admitted. “There was not just the judges but sound people, cameramen, executive producers, producers and perhaps 30-40 people behind the cameras but, after a few rounds, you forget about them and get on with the job. The win has definitely changed my life.” There was huge interest in the programme locally and nationally and Rocca’s profile has shot up along with bookings. Jamie enjoys working at Rocca but admitted that one day he may decide to go it alone. His profile may have increased but he still seems to have his feet planted firmly on the ground. Three recipes from Rocca (The Links, St Andrews KY16 9JQ) are detailed in Scotland Third Helping from Relish Publications. It is one of only 25 restaurants in Britain with three AAA Rosettes and the dishes are roasted Ardnamurchan scallops, blood orange, chicory and hazelnuts, Perthshire saddle of hare, cabbage, civet sauce and chocolate pave and coffee syrup. Go on, spoil yourself and try one.

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