A globe-trotting chef is the toast of Scotland after his restaurant became only the seventh in the country to win the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand award.
It is the first time that Stuart Clink’s Kailzie has won the Michelin Guide award, which is world renown as a guarantee of great food and decent prices.
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Stuart, 34, from Innerleithen, set up the restaurant with his wife Amanda in a 19th century stable in Lady Hepburn’s Kailzie Estate in Peebles in 2010 after coming across the property while searching for a wedding venue.
It serves hand-made cakes, pastries, hearty soups, slow-roasted specials and freshly baked bread, however, its speciality is Scandinavian ‘smorrebrod’ or open sandwiches. Stuart, who started cooking with his gran when he was a boy, learned to make the sandwiches while working as a chef in Stockholm, Sweden and adds his own twist to each by using a variety of fresh Scottish ingredients.
The restaurant now offers 15 different sandwiches. Current toppings include liver pate, bacon, mushroom and pickled cucumber, beetroot and Dunsyre Blue with toasted sunflower seed, smoked eel and pickled mutton.
Stuart, who has worked as a chef in restaurants in Edinburgh, France, Greece, New Zealand and Fiji, said: “I’ve cooked everywhere from tin huts in the South Pacific to the finest high-end European restaurants and it’s such a thrill to receive recognition for what we’re doing here; celebrating the best in local, super seasonal ingredients.
“Opening a restaurant is something that I’ve always wanted to do but, at the back of my mind, I never thought it would happen so when the opportunity came up I made the most of it.
“I like to think that we do things differently and it’s wonderful to discover that following your own path can take you to such interesting places.
“There is definitely a Scandinavian twist to what we do but we use a lot of Scottish ingredients. There’s nothing else around here that’s doing anything like us: we’ve got a lot of passion and we do feel that what we do is quite unique.”
Stuart says the award has made a different to the restaurant and he now hopes it will encourage people further afield to give them a try.
He said: “The award is making a difference, we’re seeing a lot of new faces which is really encouraging.
“We really want to push forward now and get a lot more people to try our food. Our location means we are a destination restaurant and, hopefully, this award will get more people to come down and see what we’re doing here.”
For more information visit Kailzie’s website.