Flavour Profile: Colin Nicholson, chef patron of Mingary Castle in Kilchoan

Mingary Castle is a restaurant with rooms housed in a 13th century castle on the Ardnamurchan Estate

Published 13th Jun 2022
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

What’s your favourite ingredient?

I love eggs. They’re an ingredient that I use widely across many recipes on my menu. From Hollandaise sauce at breakfast and confit egg yolk on our spring vegetable dish to a base for a lot of our emulsions.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

Takeaways are my guilty pleasure. I am originally from an island and now live in a remote location, so we are very limited when it comes to takeaway options. When we are visiting a city we always get a takeaway, whether it is Chinese (crispy shredded beef in Peking sauce) or Indian (South Indian garlic chilli chicken)

Tell us about your first food memory?

As a child I was very fussy, and my family still can’t believe I’m now a chef. I always think back to entering the local baking competition with my mum’s help every year. We’d make peppermint creams and butterfly cupcakes. It took place at the cattle show every year and I remember wining a few prizes.

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

A café we always find ourselves going back to when we’re in Glasgow is Papercup on Great Western Road. We love it so much we now use their coffee at Mingary Castle.

What would be your last supper?

Six week aged rib-eye steak with green peppercorn sauce and homemade chips.

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Starter or pudding?

Starter, main, then cheese is normally my go to when eating out.  

Do you have any food hates?

Baked beans. I can’t stand the smell, or the feel of the cold tomato sauce if it touches my skin, it creeps me out. The only time I can stomach them is when I’m cooking them for guests. There are no tins of beans in my house, ever.

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

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To start, I would serve fresh creel caught langoustines, steamed and tossed in lots of garlic butter with sourdough bread to mop up the juices. Aged venison would be served as my main, as it was one of the first cuts of meat I butchered many moons ago. To finish I would do a dessert bar with lots of different mini puddings, like sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake and Eton mess, so there is something for everyone. Then cheese for me.

I’d invite my partner in crime and business partner, Jess, along with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews (though I doubt they would sit still long enough though), my mentor John Buchanan, as well as all my close friends and past colleagues who have helped me on my culinary journey.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

I loved the food in Australia - the slight Asian influences that can be seen on my many menus to create delicate and flavoursome dishes. There are so many top restaurants that I tried when I was traveling and working there, like Lake House in Daylesford, Lume in Melbourne and Brae in Birregurra.


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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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