Scotland honors up-and-coming seafood chef
Nico Simeone beat out five other finalists to claim the title of Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year at the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine in Newliston on Monday.
Simeone’s two winning dishes were ceviche of mackerel, avocado puree and langoustine beignet and halibut with soft parmesan polenta, fricassee of asparagus, peas and morel, soft boiled quail’s egg and crisp Serrano ham.
Simeone, who works at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, received a specially commissioned trophy and a bottle of champagne, a trip to the Bocuse d’Or competition in January, a week’s work experience at Ondine with seafood chef Roy Brett, and the opportunity to cook a meal for the First Minister of Scotland and guests at a seafood celebration dinner. He was also presented with a Federation of Chefs Scotland Gold Medal, which is only awarded to competitors in international competition scoring more than 90 marks.
“I am really chuffed to win in the face of such stiff competition and thrilled to be the Young Seafood Chef of the Year because I have a passion for seafood,” said Simeone.
First runner-up was Adam Newth from The Seafood Restaurant in St. Andrews and second runner-up was Stuart Ritchie of the Marine Hotel in Troon.
Competition judges included VP of the Federation of Chef Scotland Ian MacDonald and Houston House’s Roy Brett and David Murray. Finalists were judged on imagination and choice of recipe ingredients, use of seasonal Scottish produce and skill in preparation, cooking and presentation.
This is the second annual Young Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year competition, which is aimed at chefs under 23 and is part of a campaign designed to increased consumption of Scottish seafood.