Celebrate New York Tartan Week with Scottish Chef Cook-Off


Watch chef Jeff Bland duke it out against The Highlands' Matt Hardner

The pride and cuisine of Scotland comes to New York this week during New York Tartan Week, which celebrates Scottish culture with events all week from Visit Scotland. One of the highlights of Tartan Week is the Scottish cook-off on April 8th between two esteemed chefs — one Scottish, executive chef Jeff Bland of the Balmoral in Edinburgh and Scotland’s Chef of the Year in 2012 — and the other, New Zealander by birth but Scotsman at heart, chef Matt Hardner of The Highlands, an authentic and contemporary Scottish gastro pub in the West Village that was recently named by Thrillist as one of the best whiskey bars in America.

Much like Food Network’s culinary competitions, Hardner and Bland will have just 30 minutes to create a dish from mystery ingredients (rumor has it, fish will be involved) at the OpenHouse Gallery on Mulberry Street. The winner will be crowned by a panel of judges, including The Daily Meal’s very own Arthur Bovino. The competition will also be followed by a Scottish whisky tasting.

But this week’s events are not just about fun and food (although that’s certainly part of it). 2014 is the year of Homecoming, a year of over 800 events that welcome people all over the world home to Scotland, especially those with Scottish heritage to enjoy. The cook-off is also the soft opening event for the 2015 Scotland Year of Food and Drink.

“This is a celebration of Scotland’s wonderful larder, and fish and meat from coast to coast,” said Michael McCuish of Visit Scotland. “It’s about highlighting modern and classic Scottish cuisine. We are known for sustainable and fresh food since the fish or meat never travels too far. Scotland is a fantastic food destination.”


Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi