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Flavour Profile Q&A: Ruth Robinson, chef patron of The Dory Bistro & Gallery in Pittenweem

This chef tells us about her favourite ingredients and last supper

Published: April 11, 2022
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

Seaweed (kelp, laver or alaria) is my current favourite ingredient. It’s easy to source locally and extremely compatible with a variety of seafood, as well as being great as a salad along with some pickled cucumber. I love cooking with the different varieties and learning new things to do with this coastal bounty.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

A BLT sandwich. The perfect balance of streaky smoked bacon, ripe tomatoes, salad leaves and mayonnaise on toasted sourdough is my idea of heaven.

Tell us about your first food memory?

My mum was an excellent and thrifty cook. She would get two or three meals out of a roast chicken to feed a family of six which takes some doing. I often think of her Tuesday vol-a-vents. They were filled with a creamy chicken sauce made from some of the chicken stock, carrots and the last pieces of meat that had been picked off the carcass. Delicious!

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

For special occasions, I go to The Cellar in Anstruther. However, if I was eating out with good friends, it’d be The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh. My favourite café has to be Bread & Butter in Anstruther.

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What would be your last supper?

I’d start with dragon sushi rolls with crispy soft-shell crab from San Francisco and then I’d have ojo de bife (rib-eye steak) served straight off an Argentinian parilla with a helping of herb chimichurri on the side.

Starter or pudding?

I’ll go for the starter as I’m a savoury girl at heart.

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Do you have any food hates?

Not really, I will eat anything (and I mean anything) but I’m not in a massive hurry to choose tripe.

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

For starters, we’d have surf and turf that would include a selection of fish and game that’s been cured and/or smoked. The main course would be roast turbot with sautéed fennel, seaweed beurre blanc and ratte potatoes, and all the ingredients would have been sourced from Fife. Dessert would consist of home-grown rhubarb soufflé served with rhubarb and ginger ice-cream and an orange tuille.

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As they’re my food heroes, I’d invite chefs Nathan Outlaw, Shirley Spear and Raymond Blanc. Also my life and business partner Malcolm Cheape and all my best pals who love food and make the world a better place.

 What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

In my previous life as a geologist, I worked in SE Asia and Argentina. I love the flavours in Cambodian, Myanmese and Thai food particularly. In Argentina, there is a long-standing tradition to eat nose-to-tail in order to waste absolutely nothing of their amazing beef. I ate my first intestines over there and it was revelatory!

The Dory Bistro & Gallery, 15 East Shore, Pittenweem, Anstruther (01333 311 2222, www.thedory.co.uk)

Instagram: @bistrodory

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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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