Chanterelle mushrooms with beef tartar and mushroom ketchup

When we opened Fhior, we were determined that our food would be focussed on simple, clean and bold flavours, led by the immediate season. Climate change, and the rise of unpredictable weather it brings, has certainly made this job more challenging, but in a way, it’s also made things more exciting, forcing us to become very reactive and responsive in our cooking style.

Our menu now changes faster than ever before, with some dishes appearing for just a day or two due to the supply of ingredients available to us. But while the cause of this change is concerning, the upside is that it offers us a very satisfying creative challenge, as well as a fantastic opportunity to continually surprise our regular guests with new creations.

A joyous time of year for many chefs is the arrival of the wild mushroom bounty, and for me, that really starts with my first sighting of the wonderful Scottish chanterelle. The arrival of these little fungi heralds the beginning of one of the culinary calendar’s most exciting seasons. They pop up when the weather is just right, usually in the middle of summer when sunny warm conditions follow our inevitable showers, and once they appear, foraging becomes so exciting. I’ve spent many a happy hour looking for patches of these golden caps.

Every single year, chefs wait in anticipation for the first mention of these hitting someone’s menu because, once the chanterelles are in, we all know it’s only a matter of time before we see ceps, also known as pennybun and porcini, as well as saffron caps and various boletes, closely followed by a myriad of incredibly complex flavours and textures arriving with the rest of the mushroom universe as we approach autumn.

Chanterelles can be used in a huge variety of dishes, and they make a delicious side to accompany meat or fish. At the restaurant, however, I prefer to use them as the centrepiece of a dish, and often relegate meat or fish to the supporting role alongside this stunning mushroom. Take this dish as an example. The mushroom is used is three forms – freshly sautéed, dried and made into a sweet and sour ketchup – while the beef is used to add contrast in texture. It also serves to increase the already meaty flavour in the mushrooms, while the hazelnut oil heightens their nutty character.

We served a version of this dish around this time last year and I love it. I’ve simplified some of the more time-consuming elements here so it can be easily prepared in a home kitchen, but it’s really no weaker for it. We are so lucky now to have access to great speciality food retailers, some of whom have foragers that go out and collect wild Scottish mushrooms – we get many of ours from the aptly-named local expert Ben The Forager, as well as from East Linton’s Phanstassie Farm. But if you fancy trying foraging for yourself, please don’t be put off by fear. With so much credible information out there these days, and experienced foragers offering courses that’ll point you in the right direction, it’s never been easier, or more fun, to educate yourself about fungi.


Chef patron at Fhior

Serves 2


200g chanterelle mushrooms, whole

25g butter

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

For the mushroom ketchup

1 shallot, finely chopped

25g butter

100g button mushrooms, chopped

150g chanterelle mushrooms, chopped

300ml apple balsamic vinegar

100g sugar

Oil, for cooking

For the beef tartar

120g skirt steak

25ml hazelnut oil

Salt and pepper, for seasoning

To serve

20g toasted hazelnuts

10g wood sorrel


1. First, make the mushroom ketchup. Sweat the shallots in a pan with a little oil and butter on a low heat until they turn translucent and soft – this should take around 15 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and turn the heat up to full. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly caramelised, then add the vinegar and sugar and turn the heat down to medium. Continue to cook the mixture until the liquid has reduced by half, then remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Blend in an electric food processor until smooth.

2. Next, make the beef tartar. Carefully chop the steak finely, then mix with the hazelnut oil. Season to taste and set aside.

3. Next, sauté the whole chanterelles in a hot pan with the butter. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To finish, spoon the ketchup in the middle of the plate and top with the tartar. Arrange the chanterelles on top, garnish with the toasted hazelnuts and wood sorrel and serve.

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