Celebrating World Food Travel Day in Scotland – What to eat on the Isle of Skye
It’s World Food Travel Day! Step on-board this virtual food and drink memory trip around Scotland. In Location No. 2, we journey up to the Isle of Skye, and uncover local Chef Calum Montgomery‘s ‘what you must eat’ when on his home island.
The Isle of Skye is a special place and like most travel planners and tour operators in Scotland it’s an altogether strange feeling not to be preparing for the ferry ride from Mallaig, home of Kippers (a butterflied-cut smoked whole herring) or the bridge from the mainland over to the island for a little while. Some of my favourite food memories were created there.
I can understand what brought Calum back to his roots, after studying Professional Cookery in Glasgow. I remember meeting Calum when I was his college lecturer in 2009. He had that unmistakeable Skye island lilt in his voice and I recall our earliest conversation – it was about food and life on Skye. I had taken up my first consultancy role in 1999, working for the late Sir Iain Noble at the Hotel Eilean Iarmain – a traditional hotel, with spectacular views across the Sound of Sleat to the Knoydart Hills and here was a young lad who was clearly very passionate about the quality of ingredients that were available back home.
It was a joy watching Chef Patron Calum, and his wife Eilidh on their renovation journey from buying Edinbane Lodge in 2017, along with the Grant Family. A charming property built in 1543, set in 3 acres of mature woodland, they re-opened it in August 2018 as a Restaurant with Rooms.
The accolades for Calum have since come flooding in:
- 3AA Rosette 2020
Michelin Plate 2020
CIS Excellence Restaurant Newcomer of the Year
AA 5-Star Gold Restaurant with Rooms 2020
Chef Patron of the Year 2018
Good Food Guide 2020 Local Gem
Scotsman Food Award “Best use of Scottish Produce” 2019
His supplier list is like a beautiful play, with ‘as local and connected as you can get’ taking centre stage. Both Calum and Eilidh grew up on Skye. From Fishermen to local Crofters and beyond many of the suppliers are relatives or childhood friends. It’s a heartening read and just as it should be.
There are many ingredients that Calum would love to feature, but I was much stricter with him here than I ever was as a lecturer and told him one! So over to Calum and here’s to his choice of what you must eat when on the Isle of Skye:
“Skye is most famous for its shellfish. Lobster, brown crab, velvet crab, langoustines and my favourite – squat lobsters. Squatties aren’t something you will find on a lot of menus across the world. A lot like crawfish (also known as crayfish) but sweeter. They can be found in places on Skye that pride themselves on local produce. You can only really use them on the day they are caught or they will dis-colour. It’s fresh Skye Produce at its very best”.
Where does he get some of his inspiration from?
Head on over to the Chefs Canteen where you can see some more of Calum’s dishes including this one:
Thank you to the Isle of Skye for providing such a fabulous larder. Thank you Calum for being the kind of guy all lecturers can be proud of and thanks to Erik Wolf of the World Food Travel Association for creating a day in which we can all celebrate food travel. Finally, if you are thinking of later in the year for a food lovers tour of Scotland or even in 2021 or beyond let us help put together the perfect bespoke itinerary for you. We’re here (or at least in our dreams) eating the daily catch, patiently waiting your arrival. Right chef…. Service!