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Ex Restaurant Andrew Fairlie chef to head up award-winning Glasgow restaurant

A chef who trained under Andrew Fairlie and Stevie McLaughlin has moved to take over a kitchen in Glasgow.

Published: August 27, 2020
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Former sous-chef, Lorna McNee, joined the two Michelin Star restaurant in 2008 as an apprentice and trained under Andrew Fairlie and Stevie McLaughlin, but earlier this year announced a shock departure from the Perthshire hotel.

Starting an an apprentice before moving from the Larder section of the kitchen to chef de partie and then to sous-chef, Lorna was named the Scottish Chef of the Year in 2017 and won the Great British Menu competition in 2019.

The move to Cail Bruich in the city's west end, will prompt discussion that a Michelin Star may be on the cards for Glasgow for the first time since 2003 - the year that Gordon Ramsay closed his Amaryllis restaurant at One Devonshire Gardens.

In an exclusive interview with Cate Devine, Lorna said of her move and Michelin:  "I’m not going to say I’m aiming for a star, though it would be amazing for Glasgow to get one.

“It’s not about that for me. A lot of what I’ll do is what I’ve taken from chef Andrew: good local ingredients cooked simply and well. Whatever comes after that is a bonus.”

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'It has been a really hard decision to leave Stevie, Russell and the team'

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Although Lorna didn't reveal the restaurant in her interview, eagle eyed Paul Trainer of the Glasgowist and Glasgow Times spotted that a dish Lorna posted on her Instagram is the exact same as one posted recently by Cail Bruich.

Earlier this month, Cail Bruich teamed up with Epicures of Hyndland, renamed Epicures by Cail Bruich, to open a bakery and create a brunch menu, which has proved a huge hit.

Leaving Restaurant Andrew Fairlie wasn't an easy decision, as Lorna explains to Cate.

"It's been a really hard decision to leave Stevie, Russell and the team, but for the benefit of their kitchen and for my career it’s the right thing to do.

“I want to take the first step as head chef. If I’d stayed put I’d never have got there. Also, it’s nice to give other young chefs the opportunity to grow. I felt that if I didn’t make room for them they’d be denied the chance to move up too.

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“I’m taking on a new learning curve. Learning how to bring people in and manage them, and finding my cooking style. Chef Stevie has said he thinks I have got a style. I want to see what that is.”

Lorna’s appointment marks a big move for both the chef and the three AA Rosette restaurant as co-owner Chris Charalambous steps away from the hot plate for the first time since the restaurant opened in 2008; the same year that Lorna joined Restaurant Andrew Fairlie as an apprentice.

Lorna’s decision to join the 28-cover restaurant was influenced by its style of cooking; the strong front of house team, which is headed up by GM and ex Martin Wishart restaurant manager, Chris Donnachie and the opportunity it offered for her to make her own mark on the menu.

Dishes on her inaugural menus include: West coast crab, raw Orkney scallop, citrus; Hand rolled pasta, broad beans, girolles, truffle; Scrabster turbot, kohlrabi, pork sauce and Lake District Herdwick lamb, graffiti aubergine, miso, olive, earl grey.

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On joining Cail Bruich Lorna has said: “The time was right for me to forge my own path and step up to a head chef role and I am delighted that Paul and Chris have given me the opportunity to run the kitchen at their fantastic restaurant.

"I have long been a fan of Cail Bruich so for me this is very exciting. Leaving Stevie and the team at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie was hard but I am looking forward to bringing together my own team and for what the future brings in Glasgow.”

Paul Charalambous, co-owner of Cail Bruich added: “This is an exciting new phase for Cail Bruich and for Glasgow’s restaurant scene. We’ve followed Lorna’s career and are thrilled that she has chosen to work with us on the next stage of her journey.

"We are really looking forward to seeing what comes out of her kitchen and to be able to introduce it to customers old and new.”

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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