Best Moments From New York's Scottish Cook-Off
April 9, 2014
A Scottish Cook-Off Gathering
Food enthusiasts donned their plaid best to sample some of Scotland's best cheese, salmon, whiskey and other small plates while watching a heated, but friendly 30-minute competition between two chefs: one Scottish, and one Scottish at heart.
Matt Hardner-The Highlands
In this corner: chef Matt Hardner, the New Zealand-born executive chef of The Highlands gastropub in the West Village, one of the few authentic Scottish pubs in New York.
Jeff Bland- Balmoral
In the other corner: chef Jeff Bland, of the Balmoral in Edinburgh, who has an impressive resume as a Michelin-starred chef, and was named Scottish chef of the year in 2012.
Competitive Chefs Hard at Work
The chefs had just 30 minutes to pull together a dish for the judges using diver scallops and two secret ingredients: Scottish whiskey for Hardner, and blood sausage for Bland.
Putting the Finishing Touches on Their Plates
Each of the ingredients used during the competition came from Scotland, from the blod sausage to the scallops, which were caught by a professional scallop diver.
Scallops with Blood Sausage vs. Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas
Here are the beautifully-plated results: chef Bland created a scallops dish with a side of blood sausage, and chef Hardner made a unique twist on fish and chips, cooked with whiskey and paired with fried mushy peas. Both blood sausage and mushy peas are popular in the UK.
The Judges Table
Judges said that they had a tough time scoring the dishes, because each of the dishes had its own merits. Judges marveled at chef Bland's playful combination of scallops and blood sausage, and maintained that chef Hardner's dish offered a unique twist on the classic fish and chips.
Chef Hardner is Crowned the Winner
Chef Hardner, despite being nervous about his pairing against one of Scotland's greatest chefs, won by wowing the judges with his take on the UK's favorite comfort food: fish and chips. THe secret? He fried the mushy peas, a simple yet notable difference in preparation.