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Chef profile

Ian MacDonald

Ian knew from a very early age that he wanted to cook. Coming from a farming background taught him the importance of seasonality, animal stewardship and conservation.  Apart from a six month stage at the Atlantic Hotel in Hamburg, Ian has spent his working life in Scotland. He has competed with, and managed, the Scottish Culinary Team as well as being a board member of the Federation of Chefs Scotland.  Ian is proud to have spent his career travelling the world showcasing Scotland’s finest seafood and produce.

Where did you grow up?

Culloden Moor, Inverness.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

When I was 14 working in my uncle's hotel.

What is your favourite food memory?

My mum making pancakes (drop scones), the smell of baking and getting to lick the bowl.

What makes you proud to be Scottish?

The fact that we have a fantastic natural larder on our doorstep with a wide range of foods.

Choose three words to describe Scotland? 

Vibrant, beautiful and friendly.

If you were a Scottish movie character, who would you be and why?

John Brown as he was clearly a passionate Scot.

What’s the best thing about working in St. Andrews?

We are busy all the time and have a very close knit chef community.

What do you most love about your job?

The variety of different cultural visitors who come through our doors everyday and the team here is fantastic.

Funniest kitchen incident?

When I asked a junior member of the team to pass a sauce, and he proceeded to pour it down the drain (it wasn’t funny at the time).

What Scottish ingredients are you most passionate about and why?

All of our fish, game and meats.


What is your favourite method of preparing or serving Scottish Salmon?

Simply pan-fried or grilled with Eassie Farm asparagus, Ayrshire potatoes and hollandaise sauce.

Where do you get your inspiration from when preparing Scottish Salmon dishes for International guests?

The quality of the salmon is enough inspiration to produce dishes that wow our visitors.

What three ingredients can’t you live without?

Summer harvest rapeseed oil, Eassie Farm asparagus and Scottish salmon.

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?

Anything that is fresh that day and cooked simply.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?

I have tried lots of different foods over the years and have yet to find one that I have really disliked.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

Keep it simple, don’t try to over complicate things when you have great produce.

Best cooking tip for a novice just getting into the business?

Listen carefully, ask lots of questions and keep a notebook to write everything down.

What does ‘passion’ mean to you?

It means loving everything I do and showing our customers and visitors how great our country and the produce we have can be.

Chef name:

Ian MacDonald


Executive Chef, St. Andrews Links Trust

Other experience

President of the Federation of Chefs Scotland


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