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Flavour Profile Q&A: David Smith, head chef of The Dipping Lugger, Ullapool

This chef works at this new restaurant, with its views out to Loch Broom

Published: March 15, 2022
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

My favourite ingredient usually changes with the seasons. Just now it’s black garlic. It has a rich and complex flavour that adds depth to dishes. I love using it in stew and ragu, as it’s pungent and really elevates the food.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I absolutely love salted caramel. I could eat it off a stone!

What’s your first food memory? 

When I was seven years old, I made a concoction of raw eggs, vinegar, salt and anything I could find in the cupboard for my grandad. He ate the lot and it made him ill. Thankfully that was the first and last time my cooking has made someone sick.

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

The Cellar Restaurant in Anstruther. The way the menu flows is unbelievable and each of the dishes uses the very best of Scottish produce. I also really respect Billy as a chef, I think what he is doing is phenomenal. I went for lunch and loved it so much I tried to get a table for dinner, to have the same menu again. It is that good.

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What would be your last supper?

I’d go for fillet steak served with triple cooked chips and peppercorn sauce. If I could have pudding, it would have to be something that featured salted caramel for sure.

Starter or pudding?

I have a nickname, David Two Puds, so that says it all really.

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Do you have any food hates?

Eggs, I absolutely hate them. I don’t mind them in recipes like cakes etc, but I cannot have them in their true form. Especially when it comes to my mother’s quiche. My hatred of eggs doesn’t relate in any way  to my earliest food memory.

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

To start, I would serve scallops with an Asian influence. The main course would be braised beef cheek with silky mash and roasted carrots and to finish, a sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice-cream and lots of salted caramel sauce. It would all be washed down with some vintage Champagne. The guest list would include my wife Rachael, Jeremy Clarkson, Jimmy Carr, the Spanish chef Ferran Adria and my old head chef, Charlie Lockley.

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What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

This is a hard one, but I would have to go for Madeira - the Portuguese island near Morocco. Madeira really opened my eyes when it came to fruit and using fruit in dishes. Before I visited the island, I thought there was only one form of passionfruit, but I ended up leaving a local fruit market with 17 different types. Restaurants in Madeira manage to create stunning dishes with the produce that’s right on their doorstep.

For more information on hotel and restaurant, The Dipping Lugger in Ullapool, see

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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