For those in the know, the Perthshire foodie scene holds something very special, that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. And Braco born chef Theodore Chana is one of those in the know.
Perhaps you remember him from his 2016 stint on Masterchef: The Professionals, where he was a firm favourite.
“My time on Masterchef introduced me to various people and got my name out there”, says Theodore. “It was just really fantastic meeting even more people who are just as passionate about cooking as I am”.
Now, following a stint working abroad all over the world - from Australia, to Thaliand, and India, he has returned to his Perthshire roots with a wealth of fresh ideas.
Perthshire produce is to me is amongst the best in the world.
“We have such an abundance of local and organic farmers in Perthshire who are passionate about what they do – natural and healthy food finds a home here.
I've experienced so many incredible food scenes around the world during my time working abroad. Even from this perspective, I have to say, yes, Perthshire produce is to me is amongst the best in the world,” Theodore tells me.
It’s this passion for Perthshire produce that Theodore seeks to bring to his ten course tasting event at Venachar Lochside this Saturday, the 12th of January 2019. All food served up will be locally sourced and showcase the best of what Perthshire has to offer.
“I’m really looking forward to this Saturday’s event – it’s set to be fantastic. We will be serving 70 people with 10 courses – that means a whopping 700 plates of food will be served up by myself, and fellow chef Jecca Maxwell.”
“It’s going to be held at the award-winning Venachar Lochside restaurant, which is owned by my fiancée Meghan Haste. We both grew up in Perthshire and have settled in the beautiful village of Braco.”
“We share a massive passion for food, wine and hospitality within Scotland so this event is really exciting for both of us. Prior to the event McQueen’s are also doing a gin masterclass that we’re really looking forward to.”
I want to create a relaxed atmosphere, where families and anyone can come to enjoy some delicious food.
The menu alone is enough to make your mouth water: from seared Orkney scallop served up with a saffron dressing, to smoked lavender lemon posset with honeycomb, this looks set to be a sensational affair of flavour.
Prior to impressing the judges on Masterchef, Theodore was well reputed here in Perthshire, having cut his teeth at prestigious venues such as Cromlix House Hotel and the Gleneagles Hotel.
Now, he is looking to take the lessons and experience he’s accumulated over the years and incorporate them into opening his very own restaurant.
“I’m planning to use fresh, local produce and I want to create a relaxed atmosphere, where families and anyone can come to enjoy some delicious food.
“Recently, I’ve come back from spending four years in Australia working across the country. What really struck me during my time there was the very hands-on approach they take in organic farming – you’re out on your hands and knees harvesting and looking after crops.
“This commitment to fresh, high quality and sustainable produce is one I want to keep in mind as I craft my own dishes in my restaurant”.
At the end of the day, even with his professional background and experience both at home and abroad, it’s the home comforts and that initial spark that proves most special. Long before Masterchef and Gleneagles, there was the warmth of home cooking and family.
“My mum is a tremendous cook. My kitchen at home was where I first learned to cook, with her.” It is truly this genuine, lifelong passion that is the most tantalising ingredient them of all.
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