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Flavour Profile Q&A: Becky Paskin, founder of OurWhisky club

This whisky expert answers our food questions

Published: March 23, 2022
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

Cheese. It's truly one of life's great pleasures and I'd put it on everything if I could. I've not tried cheesy porridge yet but I bet it tastes amazing.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I've recently started pairing retro sweets with whiskies, which works surprisingly well. Toasted marshmallows bring out the vanilla sweetness of a grain whisky, and if you let a cola cube dissolve in a glass of bourbon it adds a zingy, herbaceous cola twist. It may seem sacrilege to some, but I like to have a bit of fun with my whisky.

Tell us about your first food memory?

My mother was a terrible cook. Her most notorious dishes included black soup, deep-fried pizza and honeycomb so rock-hard she had to throw the pan away. Probably the worst dish was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza, which was cheese, tomato, apple and custard flavour. Suffice to say, I learned to cook from a very young age purely to survive.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

Probably Timberyard in Edinburgh. I love their seasonal, ingredient-led approach and how they incorporate foraging, pickling and fermenting into the menu. Plus, their drinks list is always fantastic – they stock a wonderful range of wines and whiskies, and you need to try one of their shrubs (a vinegar-based cocktail).

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What would be your last supper?

A giant sourdough margherita pizza with a bottle of Lagavulin 16 Year Old to wash it down with. Although if money were no object I'd have to finish with an indulgent 1960s Bowmore for its mouth-wateringly bright tropical fruits. That's a whisky that would see me off as a very happy lady.

Starter or pudding?

Always a starter. I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I'd rather finish a meal instead with a large glass of Scotch, ideally a sherried malt like Glenfarclas 15 or Aberlour A'bunadh.

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Do you have any food hates?

I can't bear anything that combines sweet and savoury flavours in one dish, like cheese with fruit or sweet 'n' sour stir fry. Pineapple on pizza can just get in the bin.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

I'd love to have dinner with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Olivia Coleman, as I bet they'd be so much fun and have so many stories to tell. To start we'd have burrata with rocket, olives and sundried tomatoes and our main course would be something shareable like Middle Eastern mezze. For dessert, we’d have a classic sticky toffee pudding (or just a fantastic bottle of whisky).

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What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Vietnam has the most vibrant, fresh and diverse food. I once spent a few weeks travelling the length of the country and gorged myself on hearty banh mi, steaming bowls of pho, and the most delicious noodles and summer rolls.

For more information on OurWhisky, see www.ourwhisky.com or follow them on Instagram @OurWhisky

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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