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UK’s top chefs back ‘best in the world’ Scottish salmon

From left, chefs Shaun Rankin of Grantley Hall, John Quigley of Red Onion and James Cochran of 12:51 hand feeding fish at Wester Ross Salmon last autumn. Photo: SSPO.
From left, chefs Shaun Rankin of Grantley Hall, John Quigley of Red Onion and James Cochran of 12:51 hand feeding fish at Wester Ross Salmon last autumn. Photo: SSPO.

A survey of the UK’s top chefs has revealed that 97% of them would recommend Scottish salmon dishes and products to their diners.

The online survey was conducted for the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) by The Chefs’ Forum, made up of chefs whose professional expertise has been recognised in the acquisition of prestigious ‘foodie’ accolades including Michelin Stars, AA Rosettes and Good Food Guide cooking scores.

Several Michelin-starred chefs, including Galton Blackiston, Richard Davies and Shaun Rankin, were among those who responded.

What the chefs said

  • Galton Blackiston, chef proprietor of Morston Hall and No.1 Cromer, Norfolk (Michelin star): “I regard Scottish salmon as the best you can buy, end of.”
  • Rory Lumsden, head chef at Randall and Aubin, London: “Consistently good quality, very good and versatile product.”
  • Chris Cusack, head chef at Steam Inn, Mallaig: “Some of the best that Scotland produces and that saying something with the incredible amount of produce we have.”
  • Elly Wentworth, head chef at The Angel, Dartmouth and BBC Masterchef: The Professionals runner-up: “Beautiful salmon, lovely to work with. So fresh and high in quality.”
  • Louisa Ellis, chef at Louisa Ellis and BBC Masterchef: The Professionals finalist: “Local to the UK and excellent quality.”
  • Darren Taylor, executive team chef at Arsenal FC: “Often under-used and under-rated due to cheaper sub-standard versions.”

242 chefs surveyed

Several Michelin-starred chefs, including Galton Blackiston, Richard Davies and Shaun Rankin were among those who responded.

Of the 242 top chefs surveyed 86% said they considered farmed Scottish salmon to be the best in the world for quality and taste. And 87% said they actively look to purchase Scottish salmon for their establishments.

SSPO chief executive Tavish Scott said: “These results, from people who demand and rely on consistently high-quality produce, show just how exceptional Scottish salmon is.”

Exceptional standards

Top chefs including Shaun Rankin, of Michelin-starred Grantley Hall and Ormer Mayfair, spent a day working at a Wester Ross Salmon farm in autumn last year at the invitation of the SSPO.

Rankin said the visit allowed him to see the exceptional standards to which the fish are raised.

“For me good food is all about locality, it’s all about the people growing it and the passion they have for their product,” he said. “Knowing exactly where my fish is coming from and personally meeting the farmers looking after them means that my customers know they’re getting the highest quality salmon, grown in the most responsible and sustainable way.”

Scottish salmon is well regarded by top UK chefs, a survey shows. Photo: SSPO.
Scottish salmon is well regarded by top UK chefs, a survey shows. Photo: SSPO.

‘Probably the world’s best’

Representatives from some of Britain’s most famous hospitality establishments took part in the Chef’s Forum survey. Karl Richardson, executive head chef at The Waldorf summed up Scottish salmon as “the best”; Soham Sonawane of The Dorchester highlighted the fish’s depth of flavour; Oriett Hoilett of London’s Skylon described it as “one of the best out there, top class and what I use in my restaurant”; while Olivier Certain, the head chef at the Michelin-starred Mason Arms in Devon concluded that Scottish salmon was “probably the best in the world”.

The survey questions and answers:

Question 1: When buying salmon do you actively look to purchase Scottish salmon?

Yes: 87.8% (210 respondents) No: 12.3% (29 respondents)

Question 2: Do you consider Scottish farmed salmon to be the best in the world for quality and taste?

Yes: 86.7% (209 respondents) No: 13.3% (32 respondents)

Question 3: How important is buying UK-grown produce to you?

Very Important: 87% (211 respondents) Important: 12.8% (31 respondents) Not Important: 0%

Question 4: How important are the positive health impacts of eating salmon to you?

Very Important: 65.7% (159 respondents) Important: 30.6% (74 respondents) Not Important: 2.5% (6 respondents) Irrelevent: 1.2% (3 respondents)

Question 5: Would you recommend Scottish salmon dishes and products to your diners?

Yes: 97.1% (235 respondents) No: 2.9% (7 respondents)