ROMY GILL, CHEF AND AUTHOR

Where is it?

Glasgow and its amazing food scene.

Why do you go there?

I call Scotland my "homeland away from home" because so many things changed in my life when I was living there. The dinner parties I hosted and the people I met – my journey started from there.

I lived in West Calder in West Lothian for five years during the mid-1990s. Although I worked in Edinburgh, I preferred Glasgow because I found the people much more welcoming.

When I did the BBC show Ready Steady Cook [from 2019 to 2021], we filmed in Glasgow. It was the first time I had been back for a long while – I live in Gloucestershire now – and I thought the city's food scene was fantastic.

HeraldScotland: Chef and author Romy GillChef and author Romy Gill

Glasgow is beautiful and the food scene has changed tremendously. Along with the other Ready Steady Cook chefs, some who hadn't visited before, I tried lots of different places to eat.

What are your top spots?

Mother India is brilliant. It is a really good place for people to try food that is a bit different from what you get in many curry houses.

Crabshakk is another favourite of mine, as is Billington's of Lenzie, just outside Glasgow. I love whisky and enjoy visiting The Bon Accord pub for a few drams.

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Another place I always liked visiting was the Mediterranean-style restaurant Alchemilla in Finnieston. It had sustainable food and wonderful sharing plates. The focaccia was so good. It was a tiny place with friendly staff and a nice wine selection. I am devastated it has closed.

Favourite culinary highlights?

I would have to say jointly Alchemilla and Crabshakk. I visited Alchemilla with Jeremy Lee from Quo Vadis in London and the restaurant critic Jay Rayner. It was Jay who introduced us to it. I went back five or six times myself.

Crabshakk is another special place. The chefs [from Ready Steady Cook] and I went a few times when we were filming in Glasgow. The Scottish seafood and fish is amazing.

How has Scotland shaped your culinary tastes?

I made so many wonderful friends when I was living in Scotland all those years ago. Our next-door neighbours in West Calder were a couple called Helen and Angus. Helen taught me how to make bubble and squeak, shepherd's pie and cottage pie from scratch.

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They have both sadly passed away now but have a special place in my heart. I missed my parents after moving to the UK from India and to have someone from the older generation welcome me, regardless of my skin colour or how I spoke English, was so lovely.

The words that spring to mind when I think of Scotland are love, friendships and warmth.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

Peru. I want to meet the people there and try the food and learn how I can incorporate it into my cooking.

On The Himalayan Trail: Recipes and Stories from Kashmir to Ladakh by Romy Gill is out now (Hardie Grant, £27)