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Flavour Profile Q&A: We ask the The Balmoral's executive pastry chef, Ross Sneddon, about his foodie heaven and hell

The pastry chef at this five-star Edinburgh hotel is well known for his beautiful creations

Published: August 2, 2021
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

It has to be butter. When you’re making cakes, patisserie or any baked goods, using really good quality butter will massively impact the texture and flavour of the end result. Recently I have been working collaboratively with local business, The Edinburgh Butter Company, to develop the perfect patisserie butter and we’ve been using it in everything we make here at The Balmoral. The end result is always incredible.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

A large helping of Brillat-Savarin cheese, usually teamed with way too much bread and way too much wine.

Tell us about your first food memory?

My mum’s dish of homemade cheese and onion pie. It was a very Seventies recipe and she described it as a cheese soufflé, which may have been false advertising and it still haunts me to this day.

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

The list is endless, particularly in Edinburgh with the food and drink scene being so strong. However, my current favourite restaurant is definitely Spitaki Greek Taverna in Canonmills. It’s a great family-run business and every time we go it’s like going to your friend’s house for dinner. They are so welcoming, the food is delicious and it’s a business full of integrity – put simply, it offers genuine family hospitality.

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What would be your last supper?

I’d have a dish of sole meunière served alongside with a glass of Montrachet wine.

Starter or pudding?

It has to be pudding every time. My first choice would always be The Balmoral’s salted Amedei chocolate soufflé served with a big bowl of our homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s the perfect combination of hot and frozen and sweet and salty - it has everything you could possibly want in a dessert.

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Do you have any food hates?

I really dislike any type of processed meats. Especially hot dogs - I really can’t stand them.

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

As a starter, I would go for head chef of banqueting at The Balmoral, Kevin Sutherland’s langoustine cocktail, as it’s one of his best dishes and is really delicious. I’d follow that up with another sole meunière for the main course and we’d finish with chocolate soufflés (well, they really are my favourite).

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My guest list would include the late author, Angela Carter, as well as philosopher Bertrand Russell, pastry chef Pierre Herme, the painter, Francis Bacon, and chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer. That would be all of my heroes gathered around one table.

What’s your favourite geographical foodie destination?

France, with no hesitation. They have great cheese, wine and patisserie, so what else do you need in life?

For more information on The Balmoral (1 Princes Street, Edinburgh), which has food offerings including the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, and Brasserie Prince, see www.roccofortehotels.com

Follow Ross on Instagram, @rosssneddon1

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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