Flash-grilled: Roberta Hall-McCarron

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Roberta Hall-McCarron The Little Chartroom

Related tags: Edinburgh, Fine dining

The head chef of The Little Chartroom in Edinburgh won the Young British Foodies Chef of 2018 award early this week.

What was your first job?
I was a shopkeeper when I was 15. 

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Tesco’s double choc chip cookies.

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
Geranium in Copenhagen two years ago. It was absolute perfection.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Clare Smyth. I staged at Royal Hospital Road early on in my career and it was amazing to watch her command the kitchen. But it has been quite incredible watching how quickly she has got Core up to a world class standard.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Something creative, perhaps interior design.

What is your biggest regret?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I don’t regret anything. I’ve always learnt from them.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Chefs that don’t season and taste their food.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
I once had eight hour braised beef sent back to the kitchen and asked if it could be cooked more... That was a first.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Macarons. 

Describe your cooking style in three words
Modern, classical mix.

Most overrated food?
Yuzu.

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Cigarette breaks between courses.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
We’re still very new and we’ve been fortunate so far. I am just waiting for our bubble to burst.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
Natalie Portman, I love her films and am a big fan. 

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Keep your head down, work hard, be a sponge and absorb everything you possibly can. And eat out in as many restaurants as you can.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My maryse (rubber bladed spatula). 

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Simple things like a stir fry.  

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating punnets of langoustines on the west coast of Scotland.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep it simple.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Life’s been pretty safe so far...

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Usually out for a nice meal.

Tipple of choice?
Depending on my mood, either a gin and tonic or half a beer.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Scallops to start, then a game bird, followed by something super chocolatey to finish.

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