SCOTLAND’S youngest Michelin-starred chef has pledged to try and get Dundee its first ever star – using food foraged from nearby forests.
TV celebrity chef Graham Campbell (32) believes wild mushrooms and herbs will help his new restaurant in the city win the prestigious award.
The chef from Oban became the youngest Scot ever to receive a Michelin star in 2009 at the age of 25 while working at Ballachulish House, near Fort William.
Now he has taken on the role of head chef at Castlehill Restaurant in the centre of Dundee which has already been awarded two AA rosettes.
The busy chef is juggling his new venture alongside TV appearances and this week is competing in BBC Two hit programme the Great British Menu.
“Castlehill is certainly the best restaurant in Dundee, but I want to make it even better,” said Mr Campbell.
Speaking about his usual food sourcing he said: “I want to bring the woods to the plate.
“I don’t want to serve something people can prepare themselves. I want to give them something special.”
He wouldn’t reveal where in Dundee he finds his prize ingredients but explained: “I go out before or after service looking for wild herbs and mushrooms.
“I’ve got more into foraging over the past few years.
“I always try to use foraged food and wild ingredients where possible because buying food is expensive and this way I know all about the food that I use for my dishes.
“You get a sense of achievement when you find something good, something that was growing in a field only a few hours ago, and turn it into a meal that people can enjoy.
“Foraging didn’t used to be that popular but it has grown over the past few years; lots of chefs do it now and it gives customers something different.”
The chef is cautiously optimistic about the Dundee restaurant being given Michelin’s most prestigious award.
He said: “I think it’s something we could achieve.”
He added: “If a star comes, a star comes. It would, of course, be an honour if it did happen.”
Restaurant owner Paul McMillan said: “We already have an amazing restaurant, but Graham can take us to a higher level.
“I’m so excited that we have attracted a chef of his ability and can’t wait until we reopen.”
The restaurant is currently closed, but is due to reopen on Tuesday 11th August with the new menu.
Chef Graham Campbell is keeping tight-lipped about dishes the foraged food will feature in.
Asked for details he said: “You will have to come down to find out.”
Currently there are only 16 Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland.
A spokeswoman from Michelin Travel Publications confirmed, after speaking to their “inspectors”, that there has never been a Michelin-starred restaurant in Dundee.
A Michelin star can totally change a restaurant’s fortunes and the acquisition or loss of a star can have dramatic effects on the success of a restaurant.
French chef Paul Bocuse, one of the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine in the 1960s, said: “Michelin is the only guide that counts.”
Michelin stars are given out by French tyre company Michelin and are published in their series of annual guidebooks; the Michelin Guides.
Michelin reviewers are completely anonymous, are advised not to disclose their line of work and are not allowed to speak to journalists.